Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Story of "Real McCoy"

Writing Tom Sharkey's biography meant we got to "meet" many of the great characters of old-time boxing.
Sharkey wasn't the only wild character among them.
One of our favourites was "Kid" McCoy – real name Norman Selby - who faced Sharkey in January 1899 as a boyish-looking 26-year-old who had fast become one of the most notorious figures ever to step in the ring; a talented fighter, yes, but a trickster too. 
According to Patrick Myler: “The numerous stories told about his trickery, mostly apocryphal, are a treasured part of boxing folklore.” 
He was said to have once filled his mouth with loose teeth and spat them out during a bout, horrifying his opponent and delivering a knockout punch on his unguarded chin. 
He also scattered thumb-tacks on the canvas when he took on a fighter who fought in bare feet. 
One particularly dirty trick involved Peter Maher. McCoy sent him a fake telegram, shortly before they were due to fight, saying there been a sudden death in the Irishman’s family. 
As another writer, Graeme Kent, has noted: “McCoy was a brilliant boxer and an extremely shrewd operator who had sailed close to the wind on a number of occasions.”
His name lives on with us to today as a way of describing the genuine article. Myler reckons this relates to confusion with a lesser-known fighter named Peter McCoy, who was also known as “Kid”. He says a newspaper once ran the headline, ‘Choynski is Beaten by the Real McCoy’ and the phrase stuck. Kent prefers a story more in keeping with ‘Kid’ McCoy’s trickster image. He says that McCoy, trading on the drawing power of his name, sometimes booked himself to appear in different places at the same time and sent along ringers. 
“Promoters had grown wise to this ploy and had insisted on the Kid being less generous with his doppelgangers,” notes Kent. “To reinforce this point they had taken to billing the boxer as ‘the real McCoy’, a phrase which later entered the lexicon.”

Saturday, 15 September 2012

"A Great Contribution to Ring History"

We've collected some of the reviews for the hardback version of 'I Fought Them All'.

"Hugely entertaining and exquisitely researched... It's a great contribution to ring history." --Pete Ehrmann, boxing writer, contributor to The Ring

"I Fought Them All is an excellent read. It's well-researched and is good news for boxing fans everywhere." --Tracy Callis, International Boxing Research Organisation

"It emits quality from the first opening crack of the hard cover until its final satisfying closing." --Marty Mulcahey, Max Boxing

"Gun-slingers, shipwrecks, tragic love stories, gambling, acts of heroism and, of course, gruelling fights. I thoroughly recommend this book."
--Glenn Wilson, Cyber Boxing Zone

E-book now available here.


I Fought Them All – authors' extras #1
A series of articles accompanying the e-version of the biography of Tom Sharkey

Our award-winning biography of Tom Sharkey, entitled ‘I Fought Them All: The Life and Ring Battle of a Prize-fighting Legend’, is sold out.
However, it is now available as an e-book.
These short articles are based on some of the extensive additional notes published in the hardback version only and are printed here for the benefit of those interested in the e-book.


Tom Sharkey enlisted in the United States Navy on November 28, 1892, and it was there he would hone the skills which would see him later challenge the best fighters of the day.
“I boxed more than ever,” Sharkey said later. “I put on the gloves every chance I had – tackled five or six men one after another.”
In fact, in that first year in the navy, Sharkey knocked out fellows named Jack Gardner (in four rounds on March 17, 1893), J Pickett (in two on April 7), Jack Langley (four on May 3), Jim Harvey (also two on May 27) and Jack Walsh (August 21) and J Barrington (September 10), both in the first.
There would, of course, never be any records of these first fights on board ship or in the dockyards.
It is generally claimed that Tom was undefeated or at least had by far the better of these fights. His subsequent record in the professional game would obviously support that.
However, an obituary for 53-year-old Father William Henry Ironsides Reany, ‘The fighting chaplain of the US Navy’, which was published in the New York Times on November 19, 1915, claimed: “He was said to be the father of boxing in the Navy and also introduced other athletics among the sailors. Fr Reany was always ready to put on the gloves with the sailors and was a very proficient boxer. It is related of him that he was the only man in the navy who ever defeated Tom Sharkey.
“The story is that Sharkey was obstreperous and interrupted divine services and the priest ‘called him down’. As soon as the services were over he reproached Sharkey for his disturbance and the upshot of the matter was that they put on the gloves.
“Fr Reany with his clean hitting and scientific knowledge of the sport, soon placed the pugilist hors de combat and from that time on never had any further trouble with Sharkey.”
The obituary provoked a strong response from a Helen Manzone, of Brooklyn, who was angry not at the claim that Tom might have been beaten but had been rude.
She wrote to the newspaper’s editor: “I have read your tribute to Fr Reany. I take pleasure in attempting to correct that statement relative to Tom Sharkey. You have put it before the public that Fr Reany had to upbraid Tom Sharkey for being turbulent. That is false. Such thing is against Tom Sharkey’s principle.”

Buy 'I Fought Them All' on Kindle

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Award-winning boxing biog now available as e-book

We can't believe the crazy prices now being asked for the few remaining hardback copies of our Tom Sharkey biography I Fought Them All.

Take a look at Amazon.

It's enough to floor Sharkey and Jeffries with a single punch.

Anyway we promised an e-book so here it is.

Come 'n' get it!

I Fought Them All: The Life and Ring Battles of Prizefighting Legend Tom Sharkey

$12.87 in the US; £8.04 in the UK; and available for your Kindle wherever you are.

New cover especially designed for the Kindle version: