Issue | News | Premium | Jul 23 2019

Terry Downes comedy show hits the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

At this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival, James McNicholas recounts the life and career of his grandfather, Terry Downes, in 'The Boxer'
terry downes
Terry Downes

MY grandfather, Terry Downes, is remembered as a fantastic fighter, but also as one of the sport’s great characters – so it shouldn’t be altogether surprising that I’ve chosen to make a comedy show about his life.

Terry was always armed with a clever quip as well as a stiff jab, and many of his one-liners have gone down in boxing folklore. After losing an early fight to Dick Tiger, a reporter asked who he wanted to fight next. Quick as a flash, Terry replied, “The bastard who made that match.”

My show, ‘The Boxer’, tells the story of Terry’s life: the cockney kid who became a US marine, before returning to Britain and ultimately becoming a world champion. It tracks his career from his first professional fight against Peter Longo until his last against Willie Pastrano. It also touches on what it’s like to inherit that kind of legacy – and how it feels to be the grandson of a brave boxing icon when you once hospitalised yourself trying to put a contact lens in.