A no-holds-barred collection of Australian boxing yarns, from the bare-knuckle fighting of old to the modern greats… The winners, the losers and the legends.
Boxing has given Australian sport some of our most inspiring champions and some of our most captivating tales. Stories of underdogs overcoming all manner of heartbreaks and hurdles, of men and women with endless courage and dedication – stories of triumph and tragedy, of bitter feuds and fatal showdowns, and of tough Australian battlers who became giants on the sporting landscape.
Ever since two male convicts brawled for the entertainment of their jailers in old Sydney Town more than 200 years ago, boxing has fascinated the Australian sporting public. Some of our most celebrated sporting legends have been fighters – from the tragic heroes Les Darcy and Dave Sands, to the iconic Lionel Rose and Johnny Famechon, to the huge drawcards of the modern era such as Jeff Fenech, George Kambosos, Kostya and Tim Tszyu, and the flamboyant female stars Sharon Anyos and Ebanie Bridges.
For many of these legends, tenacity and sheer grit ran like molten steel in their veins – Lionel Rose rising from a dirt floor shack in the bush to being mobbed by a quarter of a million people after his world title win in 1968, and Jai Opetaia ignoring searing agony to win a world title with a broken jaw in 2022. Jeff Horn, a bullied schoolboy, overcoming all his self-doubts to out-tough Filipino Manny Pacquiao, one of the most ferocious sluggers of all time.
From the travelling boxing tents across country towns and the first black world heavyweight champion, to the thrilling stories of today’s most celebrated fighters under the lights, Grantlee Kieza – Australia’s pre-eminent boxing journalist and former assistant trainer to some of the ring’s most talented champions – presents our nation’s greatest boxing stories.