Merseyside & Wirral Boxing Map
Boxing matches and tournaments have been held on Merseyside since the 18th century. In this period boxing matches were bareknuckle, known as pugilism, and were usually held outdoors before large crowds.
In the early nineteenth century sparring clubs for gentlemen were opened in select public houses to enable the rising merchant class to practice and hone their boxing skills. In this period boxing was often referred to as the art of self-defence.
In the last quarter of the 19th century, as Merseyside became densely populated, boxing with gloves developed a large fan base in the region. This encouraged boxing entrepreneurs such as Punch Vaughan and Jem Butler who both opened successful boxing clubs such as the Malakof and the Continental among others.
In the 20th century boxing expanded rapidly on Merseyside and venues became larger, some such as the International Athletic Club could hold up to 2,000 boxing fans. In Liverpool this led to the opening of the first Liverpool Stadium on Pudsey Street which had a capacity of 4,000. This venue was demolished in 1930 leaving Liverpool without a major boxing venue. In the period before the opening of the new Liverpool Stadium in 1932 large boxing tournaments were held at Anfield with smaller venues on both sides of the river providing further capacity. The most important boxing venue on the Wirral in this period was the Birkenhead Drill Hall.
In the 1930s, such was the demand for boxing on Merseyside, boxing entrepreneurs put on shows everyday of the week all taking place at different venues.
In the post war period the number of boxing venues has declined dramatically. However, there are still a number of significant venues most notably the Liverpool Olympia and the Echo Arena.
The web site will detail the development of boxing on Merseyside through its numerous venues. If you have information about a venue not listed on the site please contact us through the email facility.