Over the past couple of months, this blog has been featuring a series of exclusive previews and 'extras' relating to 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 £3.99) from 28 November.
Today we interview contributor Ben Williams, whose interview with his mother about his grandfather, who was a bare knuckle boxer, is one of the most personal and poignant articles in Boxiana: Volume 1. You can read a preview of Ben's article here.
Boxiana goes five rounds with Ben Williams!
Round 1: Can you remember the first boxing match you ever watched?
Boxing was always on the television when I went to visit my grandfather, so it would be impossible to say what the first match I saw was, or who it was between. I suppose it would have been late Seventies or early Eighties though. We watched a lot of boxing, wrestling, and war films!
Round 2: Who are your favourite boxers and why?
Oh, that's tough. Easy to go for the obvious, knee-jerk answer, but honestly I'm going to say Jack Dempsey because his life was so fascinating. From such difficult beginnings he went on to achieve a level of success and stardom that at the time was almost unheard of. He overcame the controversy of his supposed loaded gloves and draft-dodging, both of which were proved to be false. When defeat came, he was gracious and self-deprecating.
Marcel Cerdan is another boxer who fascinates me. A brilliant boxer with an impressive record, he also was a romantic and was well known for his affair with Edith Piaf. His last fight saw him comprehensively defeated by Jake LaMotta and before he could face him in a re-match, he tragically died in a plane crash.
Round 3: Is boxing morally justifiable?
How is it not? I'm not really sure I understand the moral question here. It's a sport between two men who have willingly stepped into the ring, who know the dangers and risks involved. We take those kinds of risks everyday. No-one's forcing them to box. Perhaps I just don't see the moral dilemma.
Round 4: Time travel has been invented and you are able to match up two fighters from boxing history. Who would they be and why?
This might sound ludicrous, but if time travel has been invented, then foreseeably I could get one boxer to fight himself. Let's put Muhammad Ali in the ring with Cassius Clay Jr. It'd be an interesting fight. Take a 22-yr-old Clay and pitch him against a 30-something Ali. Youth vs. experience. Wouldn't that be something?
Round 5: What achievement or piece of work from your professional life (writing or otherwise) has given you the most satisfaction?
From my professional life? Well, that's difficult to say. I was very happy to be in a cinema and see one of my trailers played before the main feature for the first time. It's very cool to hear Voiceover Man saying the words you wrote. Otherwise I'd say it was when I finished my first feature script. After all of the research, planning, and solid writing, finishing that script was extremely satisfying.
Thanks to Ben for sparring five rounds with Boxiana!
BEN WILLIAMS first got into boxing as a boy when his grandfather - a former professional boxer - would playfully spar with him. He has been a fan of the sport ever since. Today, he is a freelance journalist, writing primarily for luxury sector magazines and working with clients such as Aston Martin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Anthony Sinclair bespoke tailors. He also writes documentaries, short films and treatments, and has helped develop a number of feature films. He has written a number of feature film trailers, including those for Studio Ghibli’s Arrietty, and Luc Besson’s Adele Blanc-Sec.Ben is also the UK correspondent for Mi6 Confidential magazine, which celebrates the phenomenon of James Bond. He maintains the blog doubleonothing.wordpress.com
Boxiana: Volume 1 will be available through Troubador Publishing, Amazon in the UK, Amazon 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.
An anthology of new boxing writing Boxiana: Volume 1 will be published on 28 November 2014 through Matador Publishing, in both paperback book and eBook formats. Boxiana editor Luke G. Williams said: “In a world dominated by 140 character limits and the 24-hour news cycle, brevity and superficiality have become de rigueur. Boxiana takes a different approach; by using long-form journalism to take an in-depth look at boxing’s past, present and future, we are hoping that Boxiana will become a vital new voice in sports writing.”
In Volume 1:
Trevor Von Eeden, author of graphic novel The Original Johnson, analyses the significance of Jack Johnson; Mario Mungia tries his hand at amateur boxing; Ben Williams uncovers his grandfather’s bare-knuckle career; James Hernandez catches up with Jon Thaxton; Matthew Ogborn ponders boxers and retirement; 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.
Enquiries / review copies: +44 7958 319765 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Previews of Volume 1 content and photos for media use are available through the Boxiana blog: