Cover death of a boxer

Since 1995, there have been four deaths following fights in Britain and forty around the world. In Death of a Boxer, Pete Carvill sets out to explore the psychology of those who choose to fight and what draws them towards this most dangerous of pursuits.

But to write about the death of fighters would only be half the story. Carvill, who has written extensively on boxing and combat sports for fifteen years, will take off his own gloves and pick up a pen to explore the lives of fighters, from the early days in amateur clubs, to established professionals, to those down on their luck and to the retired still hankering for the feeling of being able to do what once came so easily to them.

A deep and powerful meditation on the nature of boxing that asks why people do it, what it does for them – and ultimately to them. This may be the most important book on the sport for decades.


“Superbly written book. As with all the most interesting subjects, answers about boxing are never simple, and Carvill undertakes an absorbing examination of the sport, its rewards and its dangers.” 

Daily Mail

“You will never again watch a fight in the same way after reading Death of a Boxer. It is, hands down, the best and most important book on boxing I’ve ever read.”

Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff and The Devil All the Time

“Of achievements in boxing, one that stands out is a 90lb kid named Gary. A disfigured lip and speech impairment haunted him in school, until he began boxing lessons in my gym. Six months later, his marks improved, as did his speech. The vocal chords weren’t knocked into place; a belief and dependability were put into place. Such victories are what makes the sweet science both a builder and saviour of young men. This is the message of Death of a Boxer.”

Teddy Atlas, world-renowned boxing trainer

“Pete Carvill turns a probing yet compassionate eye on a young casualty of a sport that has seen far too many. While you may never have heard of the unlucky Scottish pro Mike Towell, you have seen him in gyms across the world, where testosterone-fueled dreams are hatched and even the special few end up in sorrow. Death of a Boxer is indeed a cautionary tale.”

Mark Kram, Jr., author of Smokin’ Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier

“An exploration of modern masculinity and an ode to the sweet science of boxing. Carvill is a natural storyteller.”

Andy McGrath, author of Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire, William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2017

“It’s tragic but uplifting. It’s brutal but gentle. It’s another literary sporting masterpiece and like no sports book I’ve ever read.”

Adrian Durham, the William Hill Sports Book Club
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  • Hardback, 320 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785908200
  • 20 February 2024
  • £20.00
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  • ISBN: 9781785908644
  • 20 February 2024
  • £14.99
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