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Dan Mendoza – the father of scientific boxing

1276  London – Holborn, Thomas Spence Halfpenny undated, Bust left of the boxer Daniel Mendoza, rev. A Bridewell Boy standing holding a swagger stick edge plain, 28mm/10.57gm. (DH 786). Good Extremely Fine with some original lustre and iridescence, superb and rare. £300-400

          Ex ‘an old Surrey Col.’ via Mark Rasmussen Sep. 2016.

Daniel Mendoza was born in Whitechapel in 1764, to a family of Spanish and Portuguese Jews. He is regarded as being the English Prize-fighting Champion from 1792 (when he defeated Bill Warr at Purley) to 1795 (when he lost to John Jackson at Hornchurch).
At 5’7” and weighing only 11.5 stones, known as ‘Mendoza the Jew’ he is now regarded as a father of scientific boxing. At a time when the sport consisted primarily of barehanded slugging, Mendoza introduced the concept of ‘defence’. He developed the guard, the straight left, and made use of side-stepping tactics. This new strategy, the Mendoza School, also referred to as the Jewish School, was criticised in some circles as cowardly – but it permitted Mendoza to fully capitalize on his small stature, speed, and punching power.
Initially admired as an heroic figure, Mendoza’s popularity declined – most likely due to public knowledge of various crimes he committed. It is possible that he was deported at some part in his
youth for robbery, was tried for fraud at the Old Bailey in October 1793 and was found guilty of assault – on a woman who had insulted his wife in 1795.
Though intelligent, and charismatic, his life was chaotic, and he was useless and managing his earnings. He died in 1836 at the age of 72 at his home off Petticoat Lane, leaving his wife Ester and family of eleven in abject poverty. He was buried in the Nuevo Sephardic Cemetery, a Jewish Cemetery near Mile End, and when it became part of Queen Mary University of London the burial was removed to Brentwood Jewish Cemetery in Essex.
This item will be auctioned on the 11th of October 2023, at A.H. Baldwin’s location at 399 Strand, London. Interested bidders can participate in person, by phone, or online through the company’s website.

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