The first-ever female pugilist and MMA fighter, circa: 1722-1728

January 14th, 2020

The amazing tale of Elizabeth Wilkinson Stokes, first known pro female fighter, 1722-1728

By Dennis Taylor

She lived in the days of Johann Sebastian Bach, Benjamin Franklin, and Sir Isaac Newton. She may have stood six feet tall. She usually fought men -- both bare-knuckle and mixed martial arts -- and there's no indication that she ever lost.

Our inimitable boxing historian, Christopher James Shelton, joins us on The Ringside Boxing Show to tell the true story of Elizabeth Wilkinson Stokes, who fought professionally in England in an era when rules were sparse and the level of mayhem was high.

She claimed to be the wife of a notorious London murderer, Robert Wilkinson (executed in 1722), and became famous as a pugilist throughout England. She foughts solo and sometimes as a team with Robert Stokes, an MMA and fistfighter in his own right. 

Join us for this colorful and rarely told tale of one of the most interesting figures in the history of combat sports, told by the preeminent boxing historian of our generation.


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