Answer to question about late British film actor and Jewish boxer of 1790s
Daniel Mendoza, who was born in either 1764 or 1765 and died in 1836, was the first Jewish boxing champion of Great Britain and extremely popular in his day. He began fighting in 1787 and won the championship in 1792, not the previous date I gave. His title was lost in 1795, when an opponent named Burke grabbed his long hair and was able to punch his head repeatedly.
Mendoza's great great grandson was the actor Peter Sellers. He, as you may know, was most well known for playing the bumbling Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther comedies. In some of Sellers' films, pictures of Mendoza can be seen in the background.
Daniel Mendoza refined the art of boxing by developing side stepping and other techiques to change it from exhibitions of brutality to more of an art.
His being a sports hero of the time helped to fight anti-Semitism. He was the first Jew to speak to King George III. At one of his fights, in 1790, the audience was charged admission for the first time at a boxing match.
In those days, there were no weight divisions. Mendoza weighed 160 pounds,
which today would make him a super middleweight. After losing the title of
champion of Britain his career declined and I think in or about 1807 he retired and wrote his memoirs.
Thanks to everyone for your replies to my message about Daniel Mendoza and Peter Sellers. If you want to know more about Mendoza, go to
Google and do a search of Daniel Mendoza boxing champion 1790s Great Britain. You will find many headings of interesting articles.
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