"the spectators at Broughton's Amphitheatre"

Jack Broughton
Public DomainJack Broughton - Credit: Frank Hayman
John "Jack" Broughton (c. 1703 - 1789) was an English bare-knuckle fighter.  He was nearly 6 feet tall and very muscular, weighing over 14 stone. Throughout the 1730s he fought semi-professionally and earned a considerable reputation. He claimed to have been undefeated throughout his career.  He was considered the champion of England after he beat George Taylor, in about 1740. 

Broughton used the money he earned from fighting, together with contributions from wealthy patrons, to open his own amphitheatre in 1743. He established seven rules to govern fighting in this arena - the first person to codify a set of rules for this purpose.  The code aimed to provide fighters with a certain degree of protection, and was prompted at least in part by the death of George Stevenson, who died of injuries suffered in a fight with Broughton in 1741.  The London Prize Ring Rules of 1838 expanded upon Broughton's code.

Following his retirement from boxing in 1744, Broughton devoted much of his time to running an academy for aspiring fighters. He also invented the first boxing gloves, which were used in his boxing academy by his students to "effectually secure them from the inconveniency of black eyes, broken jaws and bloody noses...”

Broughton's amphitheatre hosted not only boxing, but also armed combat and bear baiting.