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Wild Thing, by Lew Yates

There are many ways to end a career in amateur boxing, but telling the referee to fuck off and then throwing him across the ring after he has docked you a point for butting your opponent is as effective as any. And so it was that Lew Yates turned to unlicensed boxing.

Many who fought for the unofficial title of "The Guv'nor" admitted privately that they would be in trouble against a seasoned pro. Not Yates, though, a bear of a man who began boxing aged six and was blessed with fast hands. Sadly, from the Sixties onwards his fists saw more action in nightclubs than in the ring as he worked as a doorman, mainly in the East End and Essex, encountering a colourful collection of villains and, from the boxing world, Nigel Benn and the young Frank Warren.

His account of his rise to Guv'nordom is honest and often moving, far superior to most memoirs in this "well 'ard" genre. But he never got a shot at professional fame. Many have echoed Terry Molloy's anguished cry, "I coulda been a contender", but few arguably with more right than Lew Yates.

Published by Mainstream in paperback, £7.99

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