The Fighting Irish tells the remarkable story of how the Irish and their descendants took the boxing world by storm. Irishmen have enjoyed a unique place in the sport, punching way above their weight and exerting a truly global influence. From the brutal bare-knuckle era to the present day, they've also played their part in many of the most famous - and infamous - moments in ring history. The French have their flamboyance, the Germans efficiency, but no one likes a scrap quite like the Irish. It's hardly surprising, then, that the boxer should become a source of national pride, not least for those people forced through famine to seek a new life in the new world. John Morrissey, Yankee Sullivan, John C. Heenan and Paddy Ryan paved the way for the sport's first superstar, John L. Sullivan. His boast that he could 'lick any son-of-a-bitch in the house' tapped into the mood of a people fighting for their place in America's melting pot of immigrants. From the brazen Boston Strong Boy to Gentleman Jim Corbett, legend of the 'Roaring '20s' Jack Dempsey through to James J.
Braddock, who fought his way from the welfare queue to the heavyweight championship of the world, satisfaction was guaranteed. The Fighting Irish also looks at that glorious era of ethnic match-ups when Irishman and Jew traded blows; at racism and the search for the Great White Hope; fighters who united the most divided of communities; and the ultimate price paid by some in the pursuit of ring glory. It's a roller-coaster ride of pride and passion, raw courage and sublime skill. McLarnin, McGuigan, McAuliffe, McCullough, Corbett, Cooney, Conn, Monaghan and Micky Ward - each distinctive, yet linked by the Celtic warrior culture. The Fighting Irish is the ultimate tale of trial and tribulation, tragedy and triumph.
Roger Anderson is sports producer for BBC Northern Ireland and was previously the Irish sports columnist for the Mail on Sunday. He is a former British Weekly Sportswriter of the Year and Northern Ireland Sports Journalist of the Year. He is also the co-author, with Harry Gregg, of Harry's Game, the autobiography of the legendary Manchester United player.