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Geoff Beattie Boxing

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Internationally-acclaimed psychologist takes his books on boxing to the bright lights of Hollywood

February 17, 2023

Edge Hill University’s world-renowned Professor of Psychology Geoff Beattie is having two of his books turned into a major Hollywood film.

Hollywood studio, AGC, picked up the rights to On the Ropes: Boxing as a Way of Life and The Shadows of Boxing: Prince Naseem and Those He Left Behind. Geoff wrote them twenty-five years ago when trying to understand and experience the boxing culture in Sheffield in the 1990s. 

They will be turned into a boxing film called Giant. The film will be directed by Rowan Athale and the Executive Producer is Sylvester Stallone. The leading roles will be played by well-known actors Paddy Considine, who will play Brendan Ingle, and Mena Massoud, who will play Prince Naseem.

Professor Geoff Beattie holding two of his books.

Professor Geoff Beattie said: “I’m obviously delighted and I’m sure the film will be amazing given the quality of the actors, the director and the producers.”

Introducing the project, Rowan Athale said: “I have wanted to bring this movie to screen for many years. The story of fabled boxing trainer Brendan Ingle and his tempestuous relationship with protege Prince Naseem is both legendary and truly cinematic. It’s exciting, necessary, hilarious, and heartbreaking, and to be making this movie with the incomparable Paddy Considine and Mena Massoud, and with the support of the one and only Sylvester Stallone and his Balboa Productions team, is a dream come true.”

The books focus on Brendan Ingle’s famous gym in Wincobank in Sheffield and explore boxing in precarious economic times after the pit closures and the decline of the steel industry. Training at the gym was boxer Prince Naseem “Naz” Hamed who went on to become Britain’s most successful featherweight boxer.

The film will follow Hamed from his humble beginnings in Sheffield and his discovery by Ingle, himself a steel industry worker turned boxing trainer. Their unlikely partnership, Naz’s unorthodox style, cocky persona, and sheer dominance in the ring propelled them both to the top of boxing’s elite and unprecedented levels of global superstardom, all in the face of Islamophobia and racism prevalent in Britain during the 80s and 90s.

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,” Geoff said.

“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 Geoff’s book On the Ropes was first released it received rave reviews in the UK press and was also shortlisted for the Sports Book of the Year in 1996. 

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. He has recently been appointed Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing, the University of Oxford. 

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February 17, 2023


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