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Journeymen The Other Side of the Boxing Business By Mark Turley

Release date: 18th October, 2014
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: £16.99
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What if history focused not on generals and kings, asks Mark Turley, but on life’s “foot-soldiers or anonymous infantrymen…their struggles, spirit and humour? Is it possible that seeing battles through their eyes would make us view [history] differently?”

Turley’s scene-setting prepares the Journeymen reader for a compelling voyage through boxing’s darkened alleyways and down-at-heel venues where we glance unsavoury characters, brush past the dodgiest dealers and ultimately have great empathy with men prepared to climb into the ring for a few hundred pounds.

This is not a book about fighters who make it to the top, but men like Johnny Greaves, who once took a fight an hour and a quarter before it was due to start. The wealth boxing has generated over the past two decades, an era during which lucrative pay-per-view deals have become an integral part of the sport, has not filtered down to guys like Greaves, whose record over four years (2009-13) was four wins, ninety-six defeats.

Robin Deakin, labelled ‘Britain’s worst fighter’, has been boxing since 2006 but has secured just one victory during that time, losing his other 51 bouts. It would be easy for Turley to take the Mickey out of fighters like Deakin, especially after he describes meeting him at his house. The boxer answered the door smothered in fake tan because he has a sponsorship deal with a tanning company, but Turley focuses on what drives him, pointing out that despite his record, Deakin has never been knocked out.

The story becomes a familiar one for Journeymen is not about a series of has-beens but some really tough nuts who keep on boxing because the alternative (in several cases) is likely to be jail.

Turley has exposed us to a deep pool of talent, boxing’s ‘foot-soldiers and anonymous infantrymen’ upon whom promoters depend. Few readers will have heard of Matthew Seawright, Daniel Thorpe or the wonderfully-named Max Maxwell, but their stories are as engaging as those told by any world champion.


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