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The Champ & The Chump
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The Champ & The Chump (Hardback)

Pre-order for despatch on publication.


A heart-warming, hilarious true story about fighting and family, based on the acclaimed stage show. For fans of books by Dave Gorman, James Acaster and Danny Wallace, along with boxing tales from the likes of Tyson Fury and Ricky Hatton.

The Champ

Terry Downes - known as 'The Paddington Express' - was a rough and ready boxer, US Marine, gangsters' favourite and world champ, defeating fearsome fighters like the great Sugar Ray Robinson. At the time of his death in 2017, he was Britain's oldest living world champion.

The Chump

James McNicholas's school PE teacher once told him he was so unfit he'd be dead by the time he was 23. James has spent his life pursuing a career in acting. In reality, that has meant spells working as a painter-decorator, wine merchant and salesperson for Viking River Cruises.

After Terry's death, James decides to retrace his grandad's footsteps to see just how it is that two people so close could be so different. It is a journey that takes James from London to Baltimore, to army bootcamp and a brutal boxing regime. And when James is a diagnosed with a neurological disorder, the symptoms of which replicate those of concussion, the two stories suddenly collide.

BiographyMemoirsHistory & PoliticsLocal interest, family history & nostalgiaFamily history, tracing ancestorsHumourSport & HobbiesSports & outdoor recreationBoxingSport & HobbiesSports & outdoor recreationSporting events, tours & organisations Publisher: Headline Publishing Group Publication Date: 05/08/2021 ISBN-13: 9781472280374  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: Pre-order for despatch on publication. Pre-Order

James McNicholas is a stand-up comedian, sketch show member, and actor, best known as one of the stars and writers on the BBC's BAFTA-winning Horrible Histories. He is also a sports journalist who has written about it for ESPN, CNN, The Mirror, FourFourTwo magazine, and he is currently a staff writer for The Athletic. James is the grandson of Terry Downes, who became world middleweight champion in 1961. In August 2019, James took his one-man show 'The Boxer' to the Edinburgh Fringe. It was a dramatisation of his grandfather's story, interspersed with stand-up comedy. The run was a total sell-out and a critical success, and was named in The Guardian's Top 10 comedy shows of 2019.

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