Boxing Books

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 NEW FOR 2013

Bruce Woodcock was born and raised in Doncaster and he held the British and Empire heavyweight titles from 1945 to 1950, and was the European champion 1946-1949. He had a large fan base, and his participation in a competition often resulted in sell-out crowds. His biggest wins were over Lee Savold, Freddie Mills & Jack London

NEW FOR 2013

Peter Kane was one of England's greatest flyweight boxers and a world champion in the 1930s. Kane grew up in the town of Golborne, Lancashire and worked throughout his career as a blacksmith.

He made his professional debut in December 1934, at the age of sixteen. He was a two-fisted fighter, renowned for his punching power. Fifty-three of his eighty-eight wins were by knockout.

 NEW FOR 2013

Johnny Butterworth became the first amateur boxer from Rochdale to win a Northern Counties title. He even reached the ABA finals at the Empire Pool in London, only to be beaten.

He continued to climb the ladder of fame and was soon into the paid ranks and had a short but successful spell in the States besides becoming a Central Area champion and scoring wins over Welsh and Scottish champions.



The 1930s were, without doubt, the greatest period in British boxing history. Jock McAvoy was influenced by his poor background. A ferocious fighter; a special kind of person who fought hard to give his family a better standard of living. Many older boxing journalists believe that the romance of the ring and its hungry exponents rest, almost entirely, in the years gone by. On the social side, this period was hard and desolate: there was no welfare state, conditions of employment for this generation were oppressive, and everyone worked for wages that allowed no margin for illness. If a man didn't work, he and his family went hungry. Man was at his best when up against it and thousands fought to put food on the table for their families. "McAvoy: Portrait of a Fighting Legend" lays not only a man but an era to rest.



Johnny King was a member of the famous Collyhurst 'Three Musketeers' stable of Jackie Brown, Johnny King and Jock McAvoy during a period when Manchester hosted bouts on every night of the week, including Sundays. But, at his peak, after becoming British and Empire bantamweight champion in 1939, King volunteered for the Navy, survived the sinking of his ship The Prince of Wales by the Japanese in 1942 and then escaped to Australia from Singapore during its capture by the Japanese. This is one man’s quiet, dignified story who fought with valour both in the ring and outside it.


Jackie Brown was born into a poor family in Collyhurst, Manchester in 1910. During his career he was to win the World Flyweight Boxing Championship, as well as British and European Titles, all of which he lost in 1935 to the Scotsman, Benny Lynch.

Brown amassed a small fortune during his short career - all of which he spent on fast living, clothes, parties, cars and women.

During World War Two, he became a physical training instructor, but after all the fame and fortune, in obscurity he coped very badly, and was imprisoned for assault on a four month hard labour charge in Strangeways.

Brown spent the last years of his life, from 1968 to 1971, in hospital at Crumpsall (now the North Manchester General Hospital), where he died at the age of 61.



Willie Pep was a boxing artist, following a tradition begun by James J. Corbett via Benny Leonard and culminating in Boxing's golden age in the 30s and 40s. Pep was the personification of what boxing is about 'hit without being hit'. But Pep was hardly the best kept secret in town: in over a quarter of a century Pep fought over 200 bouts - but his records have never been and are ever unlikely ever to be beaten.



Born Walker Smith Jnr in 1920, Sugar Ray grew up in Depression-hit America where the boxing ring or gangsters were the only way out of poverty. Sugar Ray

chose the ring, coming under the tutelage of the trainer George Gainford at his Salem Crescent gym in New York and producing an outstanding amateur career of 89 fights with 89 victories.

His march to a world title when he turned professional was inexorable. He lost just once in his first 100 fights, to the rough, tough Jake La Motta, whose bouts with

Robinson were to end up as cinematic folklore through the biopic Raging Bull. Indeed, more than 20 of his fights have become part of fistic folklore.

He won his first title at Welterweight by defeating Tommy Bell in December 1946. In 1951 he added the Middleweight title by defeating La Motta in their brutal fifth encounter before surprisingly losing it to Randolph Turpin and regaining it again two months later. Less than a year later he was unlucky not to add the Light Heavyweight title when he lost a bruising encounter with Joey Maxim.

Following this fight Robinson retired only to return to the ring more than two years later and, astonishingly, regain the World Middleweight title twice more. His bouts with Carl Bobo Olsen, Gene Fullmer and Carmen Basillio have become the stuff of legend.

In 'Peerless', this new biography of Sugar Ray, father and son writing team Brian Hughes MBE and Damian Hughes, examine his career, focusing not only on the great bouts but also on the character of the man, whose life out of the ring was a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs.




Howard Winstone was born on 15th April 1939 in Merthyr Tydfil and died on 30th September 2000. He was a world champion boxer.

As an amateur, Winstone won the Amateur Boxing Association bantamweight title in 1958 and a Commonwealth Games Gold Medal at the same weight later the same year. He turned professional as a featherweight in 1959, won the British featherweight title in 1961, and was unbeaten in his first 34 contests. Winstone also won the European title

Winstone became the World Featherweight Champion on his fourth attempt when he stopped Mitsunori Seki of Japan in nine rounds in June 1968.In a world title defence in South Wales he was defeated and retired aged 29.

The tale of the Merthyr boy who defied the loss of four fingertips in a factory accident as a teenager to become featherweight champion of the world has been strangely ignored by the game's historians. Not any more...


Thomas Hearns ranks as one of the greatest fighters of all-time. From his explosion onto the pro boxing scene with seventeen straight knockouts, he struck fear into opponents and awe into spectators. He went on to feature in some of the most thrilling bouts ever and became the first champion to win six titles at different weights. He will forever be known by his chilling nickname: The Hit Man. Hit Man delves inside this complex, charismatic character to present a compelling portrait of a modern sports legend.

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