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How I Put The Black In The Union Jack - by Errol Christie with Tony McMahon. A furious, violent and intensely personal memoir of boxing, race and bigotry in 1980s Britain
£16.99

A furious, violent and intensely personal memoir of boxing, race and bigotry in 1980s Britain


‘My future crumbling before my eyes, I grasped for the rope. A near unbroken run of KOs couldn’t end like this. In my mind I could see an eight year old kid putting on gloves for the first time. A teenage schoolboy champion effortlessly destroying everything put before him. My entire life’s struggle and here - here in plain view of my enemies - it would come to this. This crushing defeat.’

 

This is not the story of a celebrity sportsman. It’s not the story of a life covered in glory with its attendant cavalcade of famous friends, easy wins and glamorous encounters. Errol Christie may have been one of the most promising British boxers of his generation – a Fight Night poster boy, captain of the England boxing team, English and European champion, and a cocky, Ali-esque dancer with a reputation for devastating early knockouts - but this is not that story.

 

This is a story about fighting.

 

Coventry in the dying days of the Seventies was a tough place to grow up – especially if you were poor and black. At the same time as the young Errol Christie was raising the flag in the ring, his fists were seeing off skinhead tormentors and NF bootboys on the streets. Britain was sickening from a vicious racial divide, and even when the big time turned up Errol soon discovered that a black boxer who refused to play by the rules – white rules – would never be tolerated.

In 1985, after a string of professional knockouts, Errol faced Mark Kaylor in a brutal bout that tore open the country’s simmering racial enmities. In the eighth round he went down – and stayed down, the roar of the hard right in his ears. But the years that followed would see Errol square up against a far tougher adversary – as he found himself out in the cold, struggling to get by, and alone with only his own shattered confidence and no place to hide.

 

This is not the story of a celebrity sportsman. It’s not the story of a life covered in glory with its attendant cavalcade of famous friends, easy wins and glamorous encounters. Errol Christie may have been one of the most promising British boxers of his generation – a Fight Night poster boy, captain of the England boxing team, English and European champion, and a cocky, Ali-esque dancer with a reputation for devastating early knockouts – but this is not that story.This is a story about fighting.Coventry in the dying days of the Seventies was a tough place to grow up – especially if you were poor and black. At the same time as the young Errol Christie was raising the flag in the ring, his fists were seeing off skinhead tormentors and NF bootboys on the streets. Britain was sickening from a vicious racial divide, and even when the big time turned up Errol soon discovered that a black boxer who refused to play by the rules – white rules – would never be tolerated.In 1985, after a string of professional knockouts, Errol faced Mark Kaylor in a brutal bout that tore open the country’s simmering racial enmities. In the eighth round he went down – and stayed down, the roar of the hard right in his ears. But the years that followed would see Errol square up against a far tougher adversary – as he found himself out in the cold, struggling to get by, and alone with only his own shattered confidence and no place to hide.

 

Errol Christie is a former professional boxer and amateur champion. He has since become a trainer and is one of the country’s leading coaches of ‘white collar boxing’, with students including Dermot O’Leary and Gianluca Vialli. He also works in inner city schools, using boxing and his experiences of racism to campaign against knife and gun crime.

 

Tony McMahon is one of Errol’s students. An online, TV and print journalist he is also the co-writer of Aurum’s Original Rude Boy, the autobiography of Neville Staple.




Author

Errol Christie with Tony McMahon

ISBN 978 1 84513 513 3
Publication 18 March 2010
Binding Jacketed demy hardback



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