Richard Forgie was a baker and a boxer. By day he was working in his father’s bakery in Auckland and by night he was taking part in the semi-legal world of organised fighting.
On April 11, 1893, Forgie squared off against John Nicholson at the Zealandia rink in Stanley Street, Auckland.
There was initially nothing untoward. The fight was to go 35 rounds.
The first few rounds were all Forgie while NIcholson hung back waiting for an opening. By the 30th round, neither man was seriously injured.
Then Nicholson struck, a single blow to the head and Forgie fell, hitting his head.
Forgie got up, but it was clear he was getting weaker. Nicholson came in and made several hard hits to the face. The crowd booed and a foul was called.
Nicholson continued to hit. Which was when the police stepped in to stop the fight.
After, Nicholson disputed the foul call and wanted the payment of the stakes withheld.
But the next day, after spending the day at work as usual, Forgie died and the police charged Nicholson with manslaughter.
Richard Campbell Forgie was born on March 14, 1872, to Richard and Ann Eliza (nee Tinkler) in the Waikato.
He became a baker and worked for his father.
By the time he died at 21 he had become a well respected amateur boxer, and had won a few bouts.
Nicholson was 26 and had won numerous contests including in Sydney. He was considered a professional.
An inquest found Forgie had suffered a concussion and brain bleed. The jury found there was a case to answer and Nicholson was sent to the court for trial.
Ten other men were also charged, referee Lindsay Cooke, judge William Burns, timekeeper John Wakefield, timekeeper William McManomin, James Saxon, Frank Burns, judge R. J. S. Sandall, second for Nicholson William O'Meara, John McConnell, and Frederick J. Paltridge were charged with aiding and abetting.
Sandall dropped dead only a few weeks later during a right in his store and eventually the charges against all but Nicholson were dismissed.
At trial the jury however was unconvinced and Nicholson was acquitted with the jury mentioning that the fight should have been stopped much sooner.
Forgie was cremated at Waikumete Cemetery.
Picture by Bogdan Yukhymchuk.
Fran and Deb's updates