Sportsbook round-up: The unsung hero of Irish Boxing..

All the latest sports book news, the author’s view on Punching Above Their Weight, described by the publisher as “A countback of over seventy years of Ireland’s ‘sweet science’.”

IRISH BESTSELLER LIST

Sportsbook round-up: The unsung hero of Irish Boxing..

1. The Autobiography by Henry Shefflin

Penguin Ireland

Sales: 603

2. My Story by Steven Gerrard

Penguin

Sales: 573

3. The White Heat by Tomás ó Sé

Gill & Macmillan

Sales: 469

4. Standing My Ground: The Autobiography by Brendan Cummins

Transworld Ireland

Sales: 264

5. Pulling the Strings: My Autobiography by Peter Stringer

Penguin Ireland

Sales: 239

Week ended October 24

WHAT’S IN THE BOOK?

Punching above their weight by Sean McGoldrick

Sell it in a tweet:

‘The inside story of how boxing became Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport scooping 16 medals in the last 63 years.’

What made you write/publish it:

‘Having reported on the Sydney, Beijing and London Olympics for the Sunday World, I was fascinated by the progress made in Irish boxing which culminated in them winning seven medals in back to back Games. Undoubtedly this is one of the great untold Irish sporting success stories in modern times.’

Best line:

“The offers at the time were realistic and they are still there if we need to go. Look, I don’t want to go anywhere else, though there are nice places which have a better climate where he could go,” the former Head Coach of the IABA High Performance Unit Billy Walsh reflecting on the suggestion that he could take a coaching job outside Ireland. Since the book was published Walsh has been appointed the Head Coach of the US’s women’s boxing team.

Favourite story: The famous Detroit based boxing trainer/manager Emanuel Stewart telephoning the now WBA World middleweight champion, Andy Lee on Christmas Day in 2002 inviting him to turn professional and train in the famous Kronk Gym. “It was like a young soccer player being phoned up by Alex Ferguson,” recalled Lee.

Who is the real hero: There are so many to choose from that it is difficult to pick just one. Perhaps the unsung hero is Cork man Dan O’Connell who spotted Zaur Antia training boxers in his native city of Poti in Georgia and immediately recognized him as an extraordinarily talented coach. O’Connell recommended him to the IABA. Antia, now the interim Head Coach with the High Performance Unit, is rated as one of the best technical boxing coaches in the world.

Who comes out worst: Members of the IABA hierarchy who resented the plaudits garnered by the High Performance Unit and sought to undermine the status of its founder Gary Keegan and successor Billy Walsh both of whom have now departed.

Book this is most like: It would be presumptuous to suggest that ‘Punching Above their Weight’ is most like George Kimball’s seminal work ‘The Four Kings’ but it was the inspiration for it.

Book this is least like: ‘Kerry Katona: Too Much, Too Young’

Where should we read it? Curled up on a sofa in front of a blazing fire.

What will the book change your mind about: Winning an Olympic medal is not the pathway to happiness. Just ask Kenneth Egan.

by Sean McGoldrick

WHAT I’M READING

Niamh Briggs:” I’m reading Alex Ferguson’s new book on leadership. It’s an excellent read, very insightful and good to get an idea into how he worked and led his team through a hugely successful period.”

CLASSIC READ

The Piranha Club: power and influence in Formula One by Timothy Collings

If you ever want an insight into the wheeling and dealing behind the scenes of high priced sport get your hands on this book.

It might be 11 years old but the dealings outlined in the book are every bit as relevant today, both in Formula One and many other sports. The book gets its title from Ron Dennis’ comment to Eddie Jordan: “Welcome to the Piranha Club” after Jordan lost Michael Schumacher thanks to the dealings of Bernie Ecclestone.

That battle to secure the service of Schumacher after his stunning Formula One debut is just one story within the power struggles of the sport, though certainly the one of most relevance to Irish motorsport fans at that time.

Collings has written a number of books on the sport of Formula one, including biographies of Jackie Stewart and Eddie Jordan. The Jordan book is every bit as colourful as Eddie himself and very forthright in the stories shared by the former formula one team owner.

The Piranha Club details the characters and power brokers of Formula one over a number of years and has been acknowledged by those in the sport as an accurate account of their sport.


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