Born on August 21, 1783 in Wick-on-Anson, England and was raised in Bristol.
Following his father’s death, a 13-year-old Gully was forced to take over the family’s butcher shop. He amassed considerable debt and was sent to debtors prison at age 21. Heavyweight champion Henry Pearce, a boyhood friend from Bristol, visited and they boxed an exhibition for the prisoners. Gully, who had a reputation as a boxer, got the better of the champion and wealthy sportsmen paid his debt so he could pursue the ring. He met Pearce for the title on October 8, 1805 under London Prize Ring rules, but the experienced champion defeated him in 64 rounds (one hour and seventeen minutes). Even in defeat, Gully earned high marks and, upon Pearce’s retirement two years later, was regarded as champion. He solidified his claim to the title with two wins over Bob Gregson (36 and 24 rounds).
After the rematch with Gregson, he announced his retirement and found success as a pub owner, bookmaker and coal miner. One of the most celebrated fighters of the prize ring, Gully was elected to Parliament in 1832 and served seven years. He died in March 9, 1863 in Durham.
Born: Aug. 21, 1783
Died: March 9, 1863