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The Champ & The Chump

James McNicholas

3 Reviews

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The first book from award-winning comedian James McNicholas, based on his critically acclaimed Edinburgh show The Boxer

A heart-warming, hilarious true story about fighting and family, based on the acclaimed stage show. For fans of books by Dave Gorman, James Acaster and Danny Wallace, along with boxing tales from the likes of Tyson Fury and Ricky Hatton.

The Champ
Terry Downes - known as 'The Paddington Express' - was a rough and ready boxer, US Marine, gangsters' favourite and world champ, defeating fearsome fighters like the great Sugar Ray Robinson. At the time of his death in 2017, he was Britain's oldest living world champion.

The Chump
James McNicholas's school PE teacher once told him he was so unfit he'd be dead by the time he was 23. James has spent his life pursuing a career in acting. In reality, that has meant spells working as a painter-decorator, wine merchant and salesperson for Viking River Cruises.

After Terry's death, James decides to retrace his grandad's footsteps to see just how it is that two people so close could be so different. It is a journey that takes James from London to Baltimore, to army bootcamp and a brutal boxing regime. And when James is a diagnosed with a neurological disorder, the symptoms of which replicate those of concussion, the two stories suddenly collide.

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Praise for The Champ & The Chump

  • A heavyweight hour of stand-up and storytelling ... It's heart-in-mouth stuff. I was tempted to run on stage and hold aloft McNicholas's gloved fist. His show is a knockout.. - The Guardian

  • His footwork as a storyteller is as impressive as his reach as a joke-teller - The Times

  • Compelling and poignant. - The Scotsman

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