A self-confessed coward, Johnny Nelson hoped his opponents wouldn't turn up.
He twice froze when given the chance to take the world title.
Glenn McCrory declared: 'He's scared. I don't think he'll ever do it now' and even Johnny's mother mocked him.
But by the time of his recent retirement, Johnny Nelson had been undefeated world cruiserweight champion for seven years.
Now Johnny relates his moving, funny, frank and inspirational story: an amazing odyssey from chump to champ.
Legendary trainer Brendan Ingle, who produced a string of champions including Naseem Hamed, described Nelson as 'the biggest success story from our gym.' He might have added that the skinny kid from the wrong side of Sheffield was also the least likely to succeed.
Nelson had a stubborn streak. Determined not to let early failures stop him, he went into exile, taking fights all over the world to learn his craft.
Finally, nine years after being booed from the ring, he earned the respect of everyone.
Along the way, he encountered the dark side of boxing: the drugs, the gangsters and the gamblers who wanted him to fix fights. He fell out with his best mates Herol Graham and Naseem Hamed and for the first time reveals exactly why they no longer talk.
He tells the terrifying story of a plot to kidnap him.
Johnny Nelson's story will appeal beyond fight fans as a straightforward, honest account of overcoming personal fears and terrible setbacks to become the best in the world.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 288 pages, 1x8 page illustrations
- Publisher: John Blake Publishing Ltd
- Publication Date: 31/07/2007
- Category: Autobiography: sport
- ISBN: 9781844544301
- Paperback from £6.15
- EPUB from £3.99