New and forthcoming
'Dazzling... An unforgettable journey to some of boxing's darkest places' Steve Bunce, author of Bunce's Big Fat Short History of British Boxing
Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2000
A breathtakingly brutal and evocative account of the life of infamous boxing world champion Sonny Liston
Sonny Liston is one of the most controversial men the boxing world has ever seen. He rose from a childhood of grinding poverty to become 1962's heavyweight world champion. He spent time in prison, he was known to have mob connections, he was hated and vilified by his public. And after he lost the world title to Cassius Clay in a spectacular fall from grace, he died under mysterious and never fully explained circumstances.
Sonny Liston's life story is an unsolved mystery and an underappreciated tragedy. In uncompromising detail, Nick Tosches captures the shadowy figure of Liston, this most mesmerising and enigmatic of boxing antiheroes.
At London 2012, Nicola Adams made history. The flyweight boxer became the first woman ever to win an Olympic Gold medal for boxing. In Rio 2016, with the nation cheering her on, she did it all over again.
Years of relentless training, fundraising and determination have seen Nicola battle through injury, prejudice and defeat to become one of Britain best-loved athletes and an inspiration to all those who are chasing after a seemingly impossible dream.
From a leisure centre in Leeds to the Olympic Stadium in Rio, Nicola with her infamous smile has become the poster girl for women in sport. She's a trailblazer, record-breaker, and has led the way for women's boxing. This is Nicola's story of grit, talent and the real person behind the smile.
Boxing is Steve Bunce's game. He has filed thousands and thousands of fight reports from ringside. He has written millions and millions of words for national newspapers previewing boxing, profiling boxers and proselytising on the business. He has been the voice of British boxing on the airwaves, both radio and television, with an army of loyal fans. And now it's time to put those many years of experience into penning his history of the sport of kings on these isles. It's Bunce's Big Fat Short History of British Boxing.
Starting in 1970, the beginning of modern boxing in Britain, Bunce takes us from Joe Bugner beating Henry Cooper to an explosion then in the sport's exposure to the wider British public, with 22 million watching Barry McGuigan win his world title on the BBC. All boxing royalty is here - Frank Bruno taking on Mike Tyson in Las Vegas; Benn, Watson, Eubank and Naseem; Ricky Hatton, Lennox Lewis and Calzaghe; Froch and Haye - through to a modern day situation where with fighters as diverse as Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, we have more world champions than ever before. And besides the fighters, there are the fixers, the managers, the trainers, the duckers and divers...
Bunce's Big Fat Short History of British Boxing will have every high and impossible low, tragic deaths and fairy tales. It is a record of British boxing, British boxing people and fifty years of glory, heartache and drama.
Over the last 8 years Anthony Joshua has pounded his way to the top of the boxing world. In April 2017 he faced the legendary Ukrainian, Wladimir Klitschko, in the fight that commentators have labelled the heavyweight fight of the century. Sports fans were gripped as Joshua battled bravely through 11 gruelling rounds, recovering from a sixth round knockout to ultimately defeat Klitschko, setting up a stoppage with an uppercut that thundered around the world.
When 18-year-old Anthony Joshua first stepped into a North London gym in 2008, nobody could have imagined the meteoric rise to superstardom. As an amateur he stunned all observers, claiming a silver medal in the World Championships in Azerbaijan. Then a spectacular victory in front of a home crowd at London 2012 saw him claim Olympic Gold.
The professional ranks called, and Joshua has delivered. Now his first 19 fights: all wins, all by knockout. And so this young fighter has graduated to the top of the division. 90,000 fans saw his fight live in April 2017 which also broke box office records and is destined to be considered an all-time classic.
This is an intimate biography of a champion, charting his journey to face Klitschko at Wembley. It is an account from a writer who has witnessed Joshua’s development from the start, following him from his earliest amateur bouts to major title fights. He reveals a boxer with respect for his predecessors, a level head and an unwavering determination to succeed. The heavyweight division has been lit up by a refreshing new hero. His name is Anthony Joshua.
From the author of Paper Lion
Stepping into the ring against light-heavyweight champion Archie Moore, George Plimpton pauses to wonder what ever induced him to become a participatory journalist. Bloodied but unbowed, he holds his own in the bout – and brings back this timeless book on boxing and its devotees, among them Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Ernest Hemingway, and Norman Mailer.
Shadow Box is one of Plimpton’s most engaging portraits of professional sport seen through the eyes of an inquisitive and astute hopeful. From the gym, the locker room, the ringside, and even in the harsh glare of the ring itself, Plimpton documents what it truly means to be a boxer in some of the finest writing of his career.
When Carl Froch defeated George Groves in their Wembley Stadium re-match in front of 80,000 fans, it went down as the biggest fight in British boxing history, cementing Carl’s place as our greatest boxer – a pure warrior who has never accepted the easy way.
Carl grew up a tough kid on a Nottingham estate, where boxing helped to keep him out of trouble. His incredible natural ability soon led to a world amateur medal before he turned pro and embarked on a long journey with his mentor and corner man Rob McCracken.
Carl’s career has always been defined by taking on the odds with blisteringly tough fights. He was never scared to fight in someone else’s backyard and always faced the hardest opponents to prove himself – Jean Pascal, Arthur Abraham, Andre Ward, Lucien Bute and his incredible last round knock-out of Jermain Taylor.
But of course he will always be remembered for his showdowns with the great Dane Mikkel Kessler and then George Groves, avenging his initial points defeat by Kessler and finishing Groves for a second time with one of the greatest punches in British boxing history.
Froch was first a local and now a national hero and here he tells the story of how he fought his way through sheer guts and determination to the summit of the boxing world.
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AS THE COBRA - NOW FULLY REVISED AND UPDATED
WINNER OF THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD
He was the first black heavyweight champion in history (1908-15) and the most celebrated - and most reviled - African American of his age. In Unforgivable Blackness, prize-winning biographer Geoffrey C. Ward brings to vivid life the real Jack Johnson, a figure far more complex than the newspaper headlines could ever convey.
Johnson battled his way from obscurity to the top of the heavyweight ranks and in 1908 won the greatest prize in American sports - one that had always been the preserve of white boxers. At a time when whites ran everything in America, he took orders from no one and resolved to live as if colour did not exist. Because of this, the federal government set out to destroy him and he was forced to endure a year of prison and seven years of exile. As Ward shows, Johnson was seen as a perpetual threat to white and African Americans alike - profligate, arrogant, amoral, a dark menace and a danger to the natural order of things.
Unforgivable Blackness is the first full-scale biography of Johnson in more than twenty years. Accompanied by more than fifty photographs and drawing on a wealth of new material - including Johnson's never-before-published prison memoir - it restores Jack Johnson to his rightful place in the pantheon of sporting and social warriors.
In 1956, at age 21, Floyd Patterson became the youngest boxer to win the title of world heavyweight champion and then, later, the first ever to lose and regain it.
Here, acclaimed author W.K. Stratton chronicles the life of 'The Gentle Gladiator' - an athlete overshadowed by Ali's theatrics and Liston's fearsome reputation, and a civil-rights activist overlooked in the who's who of race politics.
From the Gramercy Gym and wild-card manager Cus D'Amato to a final rematch against Ali in 1972, Patterson's career spanned boxing's Golden Age and included an Olympic gold medal.
This powerful tribute to an invisible champion who fought his way to the top of a knockdown world, carrying many of the hopes and fears of the battle for civil rights, draws upon interviews with the fighter's friends and boxing contemporaries to provide the definitive account of his remarkable life and career.
On 28 July 1997, in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield engaged in what would become the most infamous fight in boxing history. After the third round of a heavyweight championship match, Tyson was disqualified for biting each of Holyfield's ears in what is now commonly called ‘the Bite Fight’.
But what drives a man to viciously bite another man? Was it a mental breakdown? Was it fear? Was it retaliation? In Twice Bitten, renowned sports columnist George Willis not only details what triggered Tyson to explode into a rage that led to him biting off and spitting out a chunk of Holyfield's ear but also exposes the panic that engulfed MGM's corridors in the aftermath.
It also reveals the answers to the following questions: what happened to the piece of ear that Tyson chewed off and spit out? Why didn’t Holyfield reattach it? And was it popping champagne bottles or gunshots that caused a near-riot in the MGM corridors and casinos that night?
Twice Bitten will enlighten readers on how that night has affected both boxers as they reach middle age. Fifteen years later, the Bite Fight still leaves its marks.
From Salford to St Louis, former professional boxer Wayne Barker fought every man who ever challenged him. In this brutally honest account of his eventful life, Wayne recounts how his parents left him in the care of the travelling community, where he learned to fight and journeyed throughout Britain and Ireland to take on opponents for cash.
After being charged with attempting to murder a child killer, Wayne fled to America, where he found work in the gymnasiums of New York sparring with the likes of world champion Wilfred Benítez. His ability in the ring was noticed by promoter Bobby Gleason, whose gym had been graced by legendary boxers such as Jake LaMotta. Gleason set up a fight in Caracas between Wayne and former super middleweight world champion Fulgencio Obelmejias ('Fully Obel').
Wayne’s past eventually caught up with him and he was deported to Britain, where he served time in prison. He returned to the streets to earn a living from bare-knuckle fighting, before becoming a trainer and running a gym. Cancer claimed his life in 2012.
'To be legendary you got to have heart... Ray's heart was bigger than all the rest' Muhammad Ali
SUGAR RAY LEONARD was one of the greatest boxers ever. An artist and a showman he was always willing to take the difficult fight: his gruelling encounters with Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler have become legendary.
Ray's autobiography takes you into the ring - with the mind games, brutality and euphroia. But, outside of the ring, Ray's biggest opponent was himself. From early domestic violence and sexual abuse to a blur of fame, sex, greed, drink and drug addiction at the height of his career that cost him so much, The Big Fight is a remarkable portrait of the rise, fall and final redeption of a true fighter in every sense.
'I fight hard and love strong. I'm a traveller.'
Paddy Doherty loves his life as an Irish traveller, but as a child he felt like an outsider. He was different to his siblings. On the rare occasions he went to school, he was bullied for being a gypsy boy. And beyond the gates of the camp he found nothing but hostility.
Slowly, Paddy's hurt turned into anger and by the age of 11 he had started out on an illustrious career in bare-knuckle fighting. This earned him a position as one of the most well-respected (and feared) men in the travelling community. Yet while he won countless contests in the ring, the real battles he faced were very much outside.
In this deeply honest autobiography, he tells of how he has loved and lost five children; plummeted to seven stone while battling depression, drink and drugs. He describes how it feels to be shot point-blank in the head and the lengths he'll go to to protect his people, as well as life since My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Big Brother.
Told with all the warmth and humour he is famed for, Paddy's rich and colourful story is one that will stay with you for a long time to come.