S. W. Fores
Thos Spring. Champion of England
17.5 x 23 inches
Etching and stipple on copper with full original hand colour; published by S. W. Fores in London in 1825.
Thomas Spring (or Winter) was the English heavyweight champion of the early 1820s. He was a bare-knuckle fighter known for his powerful left hook but also for his nifty footwork; a skill that got him the nickname "Light Tapper". He was taught under the patronage of one of the most famous boxers of the C19th, Thomas Cribb, who handed him the championship title upon his retirement from the sport in 1821. Spring put out a challenge to any man in England to come and fight him but it wasn't until 1823 that this challenge was met. Bill Neat came forward and the fight lasted 37 minutes. This print celebrates Spring's win and the caption reads: "he beat Neat on the 20th of May 1823... stands at 5 feet 11 inches high, weighs 12 stone 6lbs, aged 31". Thomas Spring retired from boxing soon after in 1825 and went on to become the landlord of the infamous Castle Inn in London's Holborn where he hosted regular boxing matches and tournaments.