William Perry, aka The Tipton Slasher, was the bare-knuckle heavyweight boxing champ of England in 1850 and 1856.
Apparently, I am related, through my father’s father’s family.
You can see it in the profile (left).
I figured this out during a grade 8 genealogy project in 1975.
Now that Al Gore has invented the Internet, I looked on-line, and there are lots of purported relatives of The Tipton Slasher.
But I have a collection of newspaper clippings outlining the alcohol-fueled antics – and downfall – of the Slasher, as well as a copy of the 1959 Pictorial History of Boxing, by Nat Fleicher and Sam Andre, passed through the family to me.
Hey, the Slasher’s even got his own wiki page.
“William Perry (21 March 1819 – 18 January 1881), known as the Tipton Slasher, was an English boxer of the bare-knuckle era.
“Born Tipton, Perry claimed the heavyweight boxing championship of England twice, in 1850 and in 1856. He was finally defeated by Tom Sayers in 1857.
“He died in Wolverhampton aged 62. A statue stands in the town of Tipton, yards away from the Fountain Inn public house, which was once his headquarters. The building received Grade II Listed Building Status in 1984 on recognition of its association with Perry, who regularly fought fellow boatmen on the many local canals in order to be first through the lockgates.”
Another site described great-great-great-great-great uncle Perry as possessing average physical skills but was “tricky, cool under pressure and used good judgment.”
Except when he bet everything he owned, including his bar, on a comeback title match for which he was woefully underprepared and lost everything, returning to work the canals and dying, penniless and drunk.
Cool statue though.
When they’re not bare-knuckle boxing in British prisons – I wonder which inmate has insisted on the nickname, The Tipton Slasher -- they’re drinking alcohol-based sanitizers.
Peter McParlin of the Prison Officers Association says inmates were using hand sanitizer distributed to control H1N1 flu, to make illicit alcohol.
The gel had been distributed around the prison to stop the spread of the swine flu virus. McParlin said on Thursday that giving inmates access to a gel with an alcohol content was unwise.
The Tipton Slasher would approve.