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Halifax Champion
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Halifax Champion

Black Power in Gloves

By Robert Ashe

$19.95 Paperback
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In the 1960s and 1970s, boxing was a popular sport in Halifax. It was driven by local men from all parts of town, and was woven into the social fabric of the city. Boxing fans were a social club. The local gyms were always on the lookout for new talent and several times a year, some big names would be invited to meet the local stars.

This book is both sports biography and social history, following the life and career of the enigmatic prize fighter Dave Downey. It also explores the bizarre world of professional boxing.

Downey's boxing career coincided with one of the most dynamic period in Halifax's history, a time of economic and cultural transition and the emergence of the city's black population as a social and political force. Downey won the Canadian middleweight championship and defended his title five times before retiring.

Author Robert Ashe gives the issue of race fresh perspective with first-hand accounts from a diverse group of witnesses to the events of the 1960s and 1970s. Among these are Premier Gerald Regan, Mayor Walter Fitzgerald, well-known local journalists Pat Connolly, Harris Sullivan, Ace Foley, and civil rights activists Joan and Rocky Jones. Also included are the voices of the Downey brothers -- Graham Downey, longtime city councillor and his brother Billy who owned the famous Arrows Club.

"Halifax Champion is not only a nuanced, warts-and-all biography of Dave Downey, perhaps the most enigmatic sports hero Halifax has produced, but it's also an unsentimental, clear-eyed look at a time and place in the history of Halifax, and the central place of race in that time. It should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand what Halifax was really like in the fifties, sixties and seventies."

- Stephen Kimber

"Robert Ashe provides more than the story of Dave Downey's boxing career, exploring the social and political attitudes prevalent at the time and the changes that Halifax experienced. It is a brief chronicle of this city in a dynamic era."

- Atlantic Books Today

"The author's sketches of various characters in the fight game are reminiscent of the writing of Damon Runyan, a celebrated sports columnist of the 1930s...Halifax Champion is a knockout."

- The Daily News

"Ashe has successfully taken a slice-of-life tale about a champion who sometimes seems reluctant to fight and produced a compelling portrait of a city and many of its leading residents at an exciting period of cultural and economic transition. Everybody from social historians to sports buffs will want to go more than a few rounds with Halifax Champion: Black Power in Gloves.

- Halifax Herald

ROBERT ASHE is an award-winning journalist who was raised on the outskirts of Halifax. He is the author of three books, including Even the Babe Came to Play about a New Brunswick baseball team during the Great Depression, and a collection of columns about life in Saint John entitled, Just Enough Fog to Keep It Cool. He holds a Masters of Journalism degree from Carleton and works for the federal government. He lives in Ottawea.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 224 pages
Publication Date: 1st November 2005
ISBN: 9780887806773
Format: 9in x 6in
b&w illustrations

BISAC Code:, HIS006000, SOC031000, SPO008000
Imprint: Formac


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