Sweet Fighting Man



This Sunday, 2 October, sees the launch of Melanie Lloyd's Sweet Fighting Man (Ring of Truth) at a meeting of the London Ex-Boxers' Association.

All the London-based fighters featured in the book are going to be there, including Colin Lake, Ivor 'The Engine' Jones, Colin Dunne, James Cook and Sylvester Mittee. Bunny Johnson is coming from Birmingham, and Dave 'Boy' Green is going to do his best to come down from Cambridge.

Here's hoping it's a knockout night - soon to be followed by Melanie's appearance on Saturday, 14 October at the Boxing Memorabilia Fair.

Sweet Fighting Man (Ring of Truth) is based on a collection of interviews with British boxers, from journeymen to champions.

The book covers a timespan of over 50 years and features some classic personalities, such as Dave ‘Boy’ Green, the ever-popular British and European Champion who fought for world titles against Carlos Palomino and Sugar Ray Leonard; Bunny Johnson, the first black British Heavyweight Champion, and Joe Somerville, the jovial journeyman who had literally thousands of fights in the lurid environment of the boxing booths.

Boxers are fundamentally entertainers and each chapter in this book is an individual performance, giving the true flavour of the characters involved. Their thought-provoking reflections proffer a unique insight into the often rollercoaster life of a professional boxer. The interviewees also talk about many aspects of their lives away from the ring and, as they drop their guards and open their hearts, they deliver plenty of laugh-out-loud moments along the way.

The fighters in Sweet Fighting Man (Ring of Truth) pull no punches as they tell their vibrant stories of victory, defeat and everything in between:

  • Jon Thaxton worked himself into such a frenzy for a British title defence that he punched the changing room wall so hard that he thought he broke his hand – before the fight!
  • When Sylvester Mittee turned professional, it was the lads that he used to fight with in school who used to buy tickets to watch him box
  • Read about the time when Steve Holdsworth jumped into the ring, stripped off and changed into his MC attire in front of a raucous crowd at a boxing show in Dublin
  • Before boxing captured his heart completely, Colin Lake had 28 races as an apprentice jockey, including seven wins – four of them on the same horse!
  • Bunny Johnson waxes lyrical about the impact of reggae music in this country, and how the skinheads adopted the sound as their own because of the ‘Babylon’ aspect
  • Wendy Schwer gives a rare glimpse into what goes on in a mother’s mind when her son is in action in the ring, both when he wins and when he loses
  • While the other boxers on a show would be shadowboxing around him, Joe Somerville used to ‘warm up’ for his fights by doing crosswords in the changing room

Click here for more information, or to read a sample from Sweet Fighting Man.