Book about Sheffield’s boxing scene set for bright lights of Hollywood

A world-renowned professor of psychology will be bringing the story of a famous Sheffield boxing gym to the big screen after his book was chosen for a film by a major Hollywood studio.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 4:13 pm

Edge Hill University’s world-renowned professor of psychology, Geoff Beattie, wrote 'On the Ropes: Boxing as a Way of Life' twenty-five years ago when trying to understand and experience the boxing culture in Sheffield during the 1990s.

The book focuses on Brendan Ingle’s famous gym in Wincobank in Sheffield and explores boxing in precarious economic times after the pit closures and the decline of the steel industry.

Hollywood studio, AGC, has now picked up the rights to the book and have written a screenplay ready for adaption into a feature film with initial shooting planned to start in 2022.

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Geoff Beattie training with Mick Mills at Ingle's boxing gym

Professor Geoff Beattie said: “Writing, as we all know, is a very lonely profession. It’s amazing when things like this happen.”

Rising star Rowan Athale, currently working on Little America starring Sylvester Stallone, is set to write and direct the film.

A number of leading actors are also being considered for major roles in the new film.

While researching his book, Geoff trained with boxers at the famous ingle’s gym in Sheffield.

Internationally-acclaimed psychologist, author and broadcaster professor Geoff Beattie

He said: “It was harder than I ever could have imagined; after my first time in the ring, somebody asked me whether I’d been in a road accident.

“Brendan Ingle’s gym was a beacon of hope in that region with Brendan, the charismatic ‘professor of kidology’, in his own words, getting the best out of the kids who turned up – kids who had very little going for them. He taught them how to survive both inside and outside the ring, and hopefully, make a few bob while they were at it.

“It was the time of Herol Graham, Jonny Nelson and Mick Mills, a man who was said to have broken six jaws and only one in the ring, and this young wonder-kid of Yemeni descent called Naseem Hamed who found worldwide fame. Prince Naseem, as he became known, went on to become champion of the world before his eventual ignominious fall.”

When On the Ropes was first released, it received rave reviews in the UK press and was also short-listed for the Sports Book of the Year in 1996.

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