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THURSDAY 30 NOVEMBER 2023
Giller’s hilarious tale of the man who put a bizarre curse on Muhammad Ali
SPELLBINDING: Expressman Norman Giller with Muhammad Ali in 1976
Fleet Street's most prolific author, the incomparable Norman Giller, has written another book — his 120th. Yes, you did read that correctly!
Titled The Man who Put a Curse on Muhammad Ali, the book describes, in hilarious detail, the bizarre shenanigans that went on before and after Ali's defence of his world heavyweight title against Yorkshireman Richard Dunn, in 1976.
Giller, former chief football and boxing reporter of the Daily Express, was employed as publicist for the after-midnight fight, in Munich's famous Olympiahalle, and hired an eccentric hypnotist to convince the virtually unknown Dunn that he could topple "The Greatest." What the hypnotist didn't tell Norman was that he planned to put a curse on Ali that would doom him to lose which only added to the mayhem surrounding the fight. Small wonder this world title challenge bankrupted its promoters and lost more money than any heavyweight title fight in history.
Norman had hoped to write this extraordinary story with Richard Dunn, but, tragically, the man he describes as a "loveable British bulldog of a boxer" was struck down with dementia and has only hazy memories of what happened in Munich. However, Norman and the Dunn family will share any profits from the book with the Alzheimers Society.
Former Express news sub ROBIN McGIBBON writes:
As someone who has read most of Norman's books I can say this is, by far, the most entertainingly shocking. What went on before and after Richard Dunn’s world heavyweight title fight with Muhammad Ali beggars belief – but the author was there and witnessed every hilarious Carry On moment.
A master of his craft, Giller has produced a rollicking, fast-paced read, providing not only an insight into what goes on behind the scenes of a world title fight, but also a glimpse of what Muhammad Ali is like when the gloves are off and he’s with people he respects.
And you’ll be as dumbfounded as I was by the curse that challenger Dunn was told might win him the world heavyweight championship.
It might be trite to say that the doyen of British sportswriters has produced a knockout book … but he has.