Edge Hill University’s world-renowned Professor of Psychology Geoff Beattie will be bringing the story of a famous boxing gym to the big screen after his book was optioned for a film by a major Hollywood studio.

Geoff 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 in 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, have now picked up the rights to the book and have written a screenplay ready for adaption into a feature film.

Rising star Rowan Athale is set to write and direct the film and a number of leading actors are being considered for major roles in the new film.

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

While researching his book Geoff trained with the boxers himself.

“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.

The Daily Telegraph’s review of the book read “Beattie can write about the low life of boxing like no-one else…[He] has got the smell of the gym in his lungs. He breathes resin, sweat and soiled towels. He even goes three rounds himself with Mick Mills. He writes for adults, and quite beautifully. Not since I first went ringside with the late Ring Lardner have I so enjoyed a book on boxing.”

Professor Beattie is an internationally-acclaimed psychologist, author and broadcaster. He is both a Chartered Psychologist and a Chartered Scientist. He is also a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an ex-President of the Psychology Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.  

If you are interested in studying Psychology at Edge Hill, the University offers a variety of courses including BSc (Hons) PsychologyBSc (Hons) Educational Psychology and BSc (Hons) Psychology and Criminology.