Headline Publishing Group has acquired The Champ & The Chump by comedian, actor and journalist James McNicholas, based on his Edinburgh Festival stage show "The Boxer".
Senior commissioning editor Richard Roper acquired world rights from Millie Hoskins at United Agents. Publication is slated for 5th August 2021.
The Champ & The Chump is a "heart-warming, hilarious" true story about fighting and family.
The publisher explains: "Terry Downes, the charismatic cockney known as ‘The Paddington Express’, was a rough and ready boxer, US Marine, gangsters' favourite and world middleweight champ. His grandson, James McNicholas, has spent his life in such bad shape that his school PE teacher once told him he'd be dead by the time he was 23. A far cry from his grandfather, James is most often recognised for being the face of a crackers brand in Belgium. After Terry's death, James decides to retrace Terry’s footsteps to see just how it is that two people so genetically similar could turn out so different. He follows Terry’s story from London to Baltimore, heads to a military bootcamp and adopts a brutal boxing regime. And when James is a diagnosed with a neurological disorder, the symptoms of which replicate those of concussion, the two stories suddenly collide."
Roper said: "I was completely blown away by James’s show at Edinburgh, and I am delighted that he has decided to explore this brilliantly funny and touching story further in his first book. To quote every single review of James’s show: it’s going to be a knock-out."
McNicholas said: "I am very grateful to Headline for giving me the opportunity to do something in lockdown other than eat buns. While this project has a very personal significance to me, ultimately it’s a book about family, belonging, and the importance of getting back up when you’ve been knocked down. I’m as excited to tell the story of Terry’s triumphs as I am embarrassed to reveal some of my own spectacular failures."