Monday, 4 August 2014

Boxiana Vol. 1 preview: Introduction

For the last few weeks, the Boxiana blog has been pretty quiet; as I explained in a post a few days ago, I have been busy getting married and also hard at work with my publishers Troubador preparing Boxiana: Volume 1, a new anthology of boxing writing which I have edited which will be published in November.

Over the next few weeks, this blog will be featuring a series of exclusive previews of content from Boxiana: Volume 1, which will hopefully whet your appetite and persuade you to buy the full volume, which will be available as a paperback book (RRP £9.99) or ebook (RRP TBC).

Today I'm presenting an extract from the introduction to Volume 1, which explains the editorial philosophy behind Boxiana, and how the project came about. This preview consists of the first 500 words of the introduction, which is around 2,000 words long in total.

Boxiana: Volume 1 preview
Round 1
By Luke G. Williams

Welcome to the first volume of Boxiana! Well, that's not strictly true, for long-time fans of the pugilistic arts will recognise that the title of this new boxing anthology is shamelessly cribbed from Pierce Egan's Georgian journalistic masterpiece, the popularity of which did so much to immortalise the feats of early fistic heroes such as Tom Cribb, Bill Richmond and Tom Molineaux and establish organised bare-knuckle combat (the forerunner to modern boxing) as a social and sporting phenomenon.

This modest volume could never hope to scale the immortal heights reached by Egan's meisterwerk, which pretty much invented sports journalism. Instead my aim is to present readers with a mixture of interesting and insightful writing, focused on any area of boxing that someone feels passionately enough to write about. This volume, as well as planned future volumes, will aim to give a voice to as many talented and passionate writers as possible. The only 'entry criteria' for Boxiana is that you have the cojones and talent to send a proposal or piece of writing that I like - the more original and creative the better!

What then inspired the publication of this volume? Truth be told, the main reason is slightly egotistical; it has quite simply been a dream of mine for many years to edit my own boxing anthology. During six years as a professional sports journalist, I all too infrequently got the opportunity to cover the sport that I love above all others and, in the ten years since I left full-time journalism to pursue a teaching career, a nagging regret has festered in the back of my brain that I had perhaps missed out on my true vocation (see, I told you this was egotistical … ) Boxing was always a sport that excited my imagination as a child; when I think back to those halcyon bucket-and-spade days, it is boxing that often serves as a prompt for my inexorably decaying memory … For example, I cannot recall much else that happened to me in 1986, but I can still distinctly recall the excitement in my father’s voice when he entered the living room early one morning to inform me that Lloyd Honeyghan, who lived in our area of south London, had beaten Don Curry (“the best boxer in the world,” and “an American at that!”) to become World Welterweight Champion. That Honeyghan so frequently referred to the Walworth Road, where we did our Saturday morning fruit and veg shopping, only added to my excitement. (By the way, I tried every week to spot Lloyd wandering down the Walworth Road and never did, although my dad claimed he saw him in the betting shop once).

Similarly, I can still recall my utter incredulity when I discovered that Mike Tyson had been knocked out by James ‘Buster’ Douglas in February 1990. The pre-internet age meant that anyone who missed the news late on Sunday night or early on Monday morning was utterly unaware that such a seismic event had taken place. I remember several of my friends at school refusing to believe the small group of us who told them that Tyson had lost. The matter was only settled when we snuck out of the playground at lunchtime and got our hands on an early edition of the London Evening Standard in order to confirm that Tyson had, indeed, been humbled. I think there was even a photo of him fumbling for his mouth-guard which ended up being snipped out of the Standard and excitedly passed around the back of the class.

However, childhood reverie to one side, it was not my attachment to boxing as a child that instilled in me the ambition to be a boxing writer or editor. No, that ambition actually came later, during my teenage years when I discovered a volume of boxing writing that simply blew my mind ... 


Boxiana: Volume 1 will be available through Troubador PublishingAmazon in the UKAmazon in the USA and all good traditional and online booksellers.

Further exclusive previews of Volume 1 content, as well as further information about Boxiana's contributors will feature on the Boxiana blog in the coming weeks.

Boxiana: Volume 1 is an anthology of never before published boxing writing and takes an in-depth look at the sport’s past, present and future. Original, startling and thought-provoking, Boxiana examines pugilistic themes, characters and issues ranging from the personal to the universal, combining exclusive interview material with meticulous research. The book’s fresh approach will both intrigue and delight all serious followers of boxing.

Featured in Volume 1: comic book legend Trevor Von Eeden analyses the significance of Jack Johnson; Mario Mungia tries his hand at amateur boxing; Ben Williams uncovers his grandfather’s bareknuckle boxing career; Matthew Ogborn considers the issues boxers face on retirement; James Hernandez catches up with Jon Thaxton; rising light heavyweight Chris Hobbs recounts his life in the military and the ring; Rowland Stone recalls a heady night in 1992; Corey Quincy attempts to solve the Wladimir Klitschko conundrum and Luke G. Williams examines the meteoric rise of Deontay Wilder and the under-rated career of Chris Byrd. 

No other boxing anthology can match Boxiana’s eclectic range of subject matter, or its in-depth examination of issues and characters from boxing’s past, present and future.

Luke G. Williams

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