Battling Siki
A Tale of Ring Fixes, Race, and Murder in the 1920s
Peter Benson

First biography of the controversial and misunderstood African boxer,
now in paper

“No man ever came out of Africa who had a more dramatic life or had a more tragic ending.”
—Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, at Siki’s funeral

“That extraordinary Sengalese.”
—Henry Miller, from Plexus

“Ever since colonialism has existed, the Whites have been paid to bash in the faces of the Blacks. For once a Black has been paid to do the same thing to a White.”
—Ho Chi Minh, from “About Siki”

“One of the most comprehensive and intriguing boxing biographies in recent memory, and deserves high marks for refurbishing the image of a worthwhile and worthy champion.”
—Peter Ehrmann, The Ring

—Pat Myler, Evening Herald (Dublin)

“Has all the elements of a Shakespearean tragedy set in the Roaring Twenties.”
—Thomas Hauser, author of Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times

“A tremendous book and useful to understanding race, sports, and crime in the 1920s.”
Sport History Review

Battling Siki (1887–1925) was once one of the four or five most recognizable black men in the world and was written about by a host of great writers, including George Bernard Shaw, Ring Lardner, Damon Runyon, Janet Flanner, and Ernest Hemingway. Peter Benson’s lively biography of the first African to win a world championship in boxing delves into the complex world of sports, race, colonialism, and the cult of personality in the early twentieth century.

Peter Benson is professor of English at Fairleigh Dickinson University, the author of Black Orpheus, Transition, and Modern Cultural Awakening in Africa, and an avid boxing fan.

Original cloth edition.

6 x 9, 360 pages, 15 photographs, index
$19.95 paper
ISBN 978-1-55728-888-2 | 1-55728-888-7
$32.50 (s) Cloth
ISBN 978-1-55728-816-5 | 1-55728-816-X