Showbusiness with Blood

A Golden Age of Irish Boxing

By: Eamon Carr

Publication Date: 21 September 2023


In Showbusiness with Blood, Eamon Carr beguiles the reader with an insightful account of the world’s greatest boxers, from Steve Collins to Mike Tyson to Tyson Fury and Katie Taylor.

Boxing, Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport, became turbo-charged in the mid-90s. A golden age followed as Irish boxers excelled in the harsh, violent and sometimes tragic business that is professional boxing. Having become enamoured of the sport during a period of serious illness as a child, Eamon Carr was on hand to witness the victories and disasters.

The core principle of prize-fighting – striking and defence – demands enormous courage each time the boxer steps forward. Surrounded by enthusiastic fans, the ring can yet be the loneliest place in the world. Ireland embodies this tradition with renewed focus over the past three decades in a golden age of boxing.

Showbusiness with Blood takes the reader on an intimate journey through Irish boxing’s years of triumph and desolation. Carr’s enthusiasm for the sport illuminates the dark corners of the fight game with stories from gruelling training camps, noisy press conferences, behind-the-scenes hustling and the savage brutality of championship fights.

These are stories of aspiration and devastation. Yet amid the chaos and destruction of the boxing ring are inspirational tales of courage, resilience and personal redemption: boxing’s enduring saving grace.

Featured boxers include: Steve Collins, Wayne McCullough, Bernard Dunne, Darren Sutherland, Tyson Fury, Jamie Conlan, Andy Lee, John Joe Nevin, Katie Taylor, Willie Casey, Carl Frampton, Michael Conlan, Mike Tyson, Seamus McDonagh, Conor McGregor, Martin Rogan, Michael Carruth, Francis Barrett, Matthew Macklin and Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan.

‘In his compelling and beautifully-written book, Eamon Carr does not shy away from the darkness and danger of boxing but, at the same time, he draws us deep into its vivid and mysterious world. It flows with riveting stories of great fighters – an unforgettable addition to the rich history of Irish boxing.’ Donald McRae, The Guardian

Listen back to Eamon Carr interviewed about Showbusiness with Blood on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show here

‘I had a front row seat for a golden generation of Irish boxing’ – Read an interview with Eamon Carr on here

‘Fighting Irishman’: Why Tyson Fury saw himself as the rightful heir to Cú Chulainn – Read an exclusive extract from Showbusiness with Blood in the Irish Independent here

Eamon Carr learnt to read by reciting boxing reports and has gone into print with memories of Ireland’s golden age – Read an interview with Eamon Carr in The Sunday Times here

Listen to an interview with Eamon Carr on The Rocky Road podcast here

‘Eamon Carr is an extraordinary figure in Irish journalism and Showbusiness with Blood: A Golden Age of Irish Boxing is an extraordinary book. These are the stories of Irish boxing and they are told with tenderness and affection; they are, most profoundly, stories of “aspiration, violence and catastrophe”. … He never loses his critical distance, yet empathy for those who put themselves through the most brutal of sports underpins every word he writes. … If there are lessons for journalists in this book, they are about being open to experience, to be endlessly curious and, above all else, to be there. This is shoe-leather journalism on a higher plane.’ Dion Fanning, Irish Independent

‘A wonderful telling of a time for Irish boxing that reads now like a golden age … at its heart this is a story about boxers and the sport’s unique ability to repel and enthral while magnifying any aspect of the human condition.’ Michael Foley, The Sunday Times

‘Very unique – the best boxers in history are in it … an absolutely brilliant book.’ The Six O’Clock Show, Virgin Media TV

‘I found myself at the heart of the machine, mixing with the fighters, coaches and promoters, assaying levels of ambition and commitment, gauging skill and will and sharing in triumph and failure’ – Read a feature by Eamon Carr on here

Listen to an interview with Eamon Carr on the Second Captains podcast here

‘In this mix of top-tier journalism and personal testament, Carr has written a unique book about the sport he loves and its heroes, while squaring up to its shadier connections with crime and the inherent dangers in the ring. It’s exquisitely, passionately written.’ Anne Cunningham, Meath Chronicle

‘His book is a work of art and segues beautifully between stories of his youth and the tales from ringside … Carr’s accounts of the joy and pain is beautifully written and accounted throughout.’ David Mohan,

‘A superbly written must-read for boxing fans.’ Sunday Independent


Eamon Carr is a member of Horslips. A journalist and art historian, he has been a cultural commentator and reporter on news and sport for Independent Newspapers for over two decades. His published work includes The Origami Crow, Journey into Japan World Cup Summer 2002 (Seven Towers, 2008) and Deirdre Unforgiven: A Journal of Sorrows (Doire Press, 2013). His verse plays include DUSK (2016) and CúChulainn Awakes (2020).

Also available as an ebook
Weight 0.400 kg
Dimensions 234 × 156 mm

Paperback w/ Flaps

Publication Date

21 September 2023



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