The Boxer

The Boxer by Nikesh Shukla

Told over the course of the ten rounds of his first fight, this is the story of amateur boxer Sunny.

A seventeen year old feeling isolated and disconnected in the city he’s just moved to, Sunny joins a boxing club to learn to protect himself after a racist attack. He finds the community he’s been desperately seeking at the club, and a mentor in trainer Shobu, who helps him find his place in the world.

But racial tensions are rising in the city, and when a Far Right march through Bristol turns violent, Sunny is faced with losing his new best friend Keir to radicalisation.


Olivia, year 8

26th November 2020 at 7:14 pm

I thought The Boxer was an exciting book though I did have mixed emotions for it. At the start of the book, Sunny gets attacked and becomes shy around people and things but as the book goes on he gets stronger and stronger. Shobu his boxer trainer pushes him hard as his abilities grow. This was an amazing adventure book it drastically changed from Sunny being the shy person to the end where he grew strong and fierce through his boxing. When I read about Sunny’s dad in hospital it made me read on more as Sunny kept talking about how he wasn’t a good father to him. Overall, I would rate The Boxer 4 and a half stars due to all the interesting events that kept me reading.

Georgia, year 9

26th November 2020 at 7:13 pm

The story of ‘The Boxer’ is told over ten rounds of a boxing match between main protagonist ‘brown’ Sunny and his ‘white’ training partner. After being beaten up in an unprovoked racist attack Sunny is using boxing to find the confidence to own his own space and to defend himself. As something of a loner he has led a restricted life with a terminally ill father he thinks has let him down, and a loving but distant mother who always seems to be working to support the family. I enjoyed The Boxer, however I think that it was a little dragged on. I read this book fairly quickly, and I would recommend it to children around our age. Overall a fairly good read.

Josh, Year 9

26th November 2020 at 6:34 pm

The Boxer is an uplifting and inspiring book that combats real life issues that many kids in England unfortunately have to face every day. This book had a massive impact on my view of what current school kids have to face every day even in a country like the UK. Although this book is fiction it is a very real reality for a lot of people in the UK and this book sheds light on this issue that is overlooked, especially in a liberal area like West Sussex. I really enjoy this genre of books and it is very good to know people who write like this.

Jacob, year 9

26th November 2020 at 6:34 pm

The Boxer for me was a great book which used the element of a problem which the world is currently facing, racism. The book combines the element of sport, done for pleasure with the element of racism, a huge problem in the world. Nikesh Shukla combines the two in a great way which makes the reader have pleasure whilst reading. He combines the 2 elements really well with the element of fighting to protect yourself, then learns to box.

Ralph year 9

26th November 2020 at 6:26 pm

In this book, Sunny is from a British Indian family and is living with his mum because his dad is in hospital. One day he is sitting by the train station and someone asks for his samosa and he refuses, they violently beat him up, throw him to the floor and injure him severely leaving him bed-bound for days. When he recovers and is taking a taxi, him and his taxi driver become good friends and it is clear to him that Sunny is injured so he recommends boxing. Sunny takes up boxing and loves it, he meets Keir who is also a boxer and they become great friends. Keir’s family are quite racist and disrespectful which slowly drives Sunny and Keir apart. Racial tension is rising in Bristol and when a far right march gets violent Sunny is faced with losing his best friend through radicalization.


19th November 2020 at 4:46 pm

This book the boxer was a very motivational and positive book. The book consisted of people getting back on their feet after being knocked down, as well as addressing important matters such as Racism. The book has really had an effect on me as a reader because the author was able to write the book with a fun story to it but also make sure the reader understands the messages he’s trying to get across. He has done this by making the main character feel or show all these emotions or problems that a lot of people have but won’t acknowledge. My favourite quote in the book is ” I’m no longer afraid.”

This quote really stuck out to me at the end of the book because it really shows that if you want something and you don’t give up, in the end it will happen. Whatever happens to you in life that makes you want to give up or set you back you have to keep on going. That is why I found this book quite good.

Alex, year 9

18th November 2020 at 9:50 am

The Boxer:

Review by Alex in Y9:

I enjoyed the book The Boxer by Nikesh Shukla as I like reading books set in the present that are believable or are a big issue today (Black lives matter), so this was a suitable book for me. I also enjoyed how it told the story of the boxing match along with the story of Sunny’s life. I would recommend this book to teens who enjoy realistic books.

Florence, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 3:28 pm

The Boxer is a very relevant book as it shows the tragic story of what sadly some people must live with every day, racism. It is a story of a friendship between two people who find their love for boxing, but it does not end as happy as it starts. Sunny meets lots of people who help him in his journey through recovery because of what happened at the station. I very much recommend this book to people who like to know how some people have to live on a daily basis.

Finlay, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 3:27 pm

Told over the course of the first ten rounds of his first fight, the book follows the story of seventeen-year-old Sunny. In the book he is forced to move to Bristol, a soon to be dangerous area, as his dad needs to be in a hospice there. When he is coming back from school one day he gets beaten up by racists. He therefore joins a boxing club/ gym to help his self- defence. Feeling isolated after the attack he finds a friend at the gym called Keir. Over time their friendship grows, but then it turns. As racial tensions flare in the city Sunny realises Keir’s family is involved. He must stand strong and keep boxing to keep himself from losing everything. I really liked this book because it is a much-needed voice in these BLM times. I also liked it because it had you hooked on every page, the story was tense and hard–hitting at times but that is what made it so exciting. My favourite character was Sunny because he had to stand strong and beat lots of doubts to find his true friends. I would recommend this book to people aged 11 and above as it can get a bit hard – hitting and tense

Barney, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 8:52 am

I thought that The Boxer was amazing, I haven’t always been a huge fan of reading but when I read The Boxer it changed my whole opinion on reading. The book itself is so addictive, there are always surprises left right and centre. An example of this would be when Sunny (main character) is sparring
against Kier and someone in the crowd shouts something very racist and it changed the whole mood. I really liked how the story was in two different perspectives, one is him recovering after being beaten up and becoming more confident, the other side of the book was him boxing against Kier (his best friend). Another thing that I liked is that Sunny is always reflecting and blaming himself over the course of the book. I also liked that Sunny grows stronger and learns how to stand out for himself, at the start of the book he says after his attack `I couldn’t take the train, I knew that. The thought made my lungs feel like they were filled with hot air` this shows that he was scared and timid.

Emma G, Ardingly

6th November 2020 at 10:35 am

The Boxer was a very exciting, thrilling book that made me realise how severe and how far racism can go. It was a very empowering book of a boy who stood up to racism. I found it really interesting when at the beginning of every chapter there was a little cut scene from the end fight and it made me want to read to the end and found out who wins and what happens. The book also made me feel sorry for Sunny as his dad is in a hospice and he has to leave everything he ever knew in London. I would recommend this book to people who like books that have a bit of tension and someone overcoming a fear.

Megan, Mayfield School

24th October 2020 at 5:20 pm

The Boxer

This book has a very strong message throughout the whole story. There are lots of controversial characters who clash together. If I could sum this book up in three words, I would say: powerful, relevant and bold

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