From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)
In July of 1849, in Warren County, KY, an 18-year-old (est.) slave named John died while boxing. He died instantly. His death was listed in the U.S. Mortality Schedule for 1850 [source: Ancestry]. Boxing was a bare-knuckle sport in 1849. Bouts between slaves was entertainment for whites that sometimes included betting. For more on slave boxers see the Encyclopedia of Ethnicity and Sports in the United States edited by G. B. Kirsch, O. Harris, and C. E. Nolte; African Americans and Popular Culture, by T. Boyd; and Boxing: a concise history of the sweet science by G. R. Gems.