Saturday, March 28, 2015

Book Review:Yesterday’s Glovemen: The Golden Days of Ulster Boxing

 The Sunday Book Review by Peter Silkov
 “Yesterday’s Glovemen: The Golden Days of Ulster Boxing”  Written by Brian Madden

This week’s book is a celebration of the great boxers to come out of Northern Ireland.  Ireland has a long history of providing a great number of outstanding pugilists to the sport. Ever since the legendary bare-knuckle champion of Britain Daniel Mendoza toured Ireland during his prime, he more or less single-handedly inspired the Irish to take up organized fighting. 

First published in 2006, “Yesterday’s Glovemen: The Golden Days of Ulster Boxing” looks at the lives and careers of a fascinating selection of fighters, ranging from those who found world fame and world titles, to those who had careers as journeymen. A few fighters in this book had only a handful of professional contests, but their career and life stories as recounted to us by Brian Madden, more than justify their inclusion within this book. Indeed, one of the most rewarding aspects of this book is how you find yourself discovering fighters of the past who you had never previously heard of, in addition to reading about fighters of whom you might have already are acquainted. Each of the book’s 26 chapters are devoted to a different boxer.

The boxers included in “Yesterday’s Glovemen: The Golden Days of Ulster Boxing” are Mickey Lavery, Jack Garland, Pat “Maurice” Marrinan, Ike Weir (Jimmy Rooney), Bunty Doran, Al Gibson, Paddy Slavin, Tom Meli, Bunty Adamson, Bob Gourly, John Kelly, Billy “Spider” Kelly, Paddy Graham, Jimmy Carson Sr., Charlie Cosgrove, Sammy Cowan, Henry Turkington, Jim Mccann, Paddy Graham, Francie “FRA” McCullagh, Jimmy Carson Jr., and David Irving.
Alongside such well-known names as Jim “Spider” Kelly, John Kelly, Rinty Monaghan, Freddie Gilroy, and Johnny Caldwell, there are plenty of other fighters whom, while not as famous, have just as interesting life stories to be told.

Another charm of this book is that, despite the compactness of every fighter’s bio, the author manages to build an interesting and informative account of each fighter that he covers. It really is impressive how vivid a picture Madden is able to paint of each fights career and life within these pages.

This book is a handsome one, with a nice cover, and within its 258 pages there are plenty of photographs of the fighters being profiled.

Brian Madden’s narrative is detailed, yet never too dry. We are never just drowned in a list of facts and dates, as is the mistake of some boxing biographies. This book flows as we learn interesting aspects of fighters lives outside the ring as well as inside it, each fighter is portrayed as a person, rather than just a stereotypical boxer.

In all, Madden has put together a wonderful book that seems to have escaped the attention of many. It is a book that deserves to be read, and will be thoroughly enjoyed by anyone with a healthy interest in boxing, especially in reliving the glory days of Irish boxing. It is a pleasure to find a book, which brings back into the light fighters who might otherwise have become forgotten. 

Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to and

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