Book Review: The Final Round, The Autobiography of Jane Couch MBE
Jane Couch always knew she would do something big, but she didn’t quite know what, where or how. In truth she should have known, an early life of trouble should have told her that her life would be defined by her fists.
But only after watching a documentary on women’s boxing did she finally realise what path her life would lead.
Couch spent much of her time trying to keep her boxing career alive, but ironically her autobiography starts by her trying to bury it.
Couch sacrificed so much for boxing, far more than she should have, and she needed to put that side of her life behind her, to move on with the rest of her life.
Couch wanted to box, but in a sad indication of the times, it was illegal to do so in the UK.
The Fleetwood resident had to learn her craft like some dirty little secret, a sign of the times maybe, but still wrong on every single level. Her biggest fight was just for the opportunity to fight.
Couch took on many opponents in her life, but probably her toughest foe was the establishment. For the right to box legally in her own country it took an historic court case to allow that to happen.
Unfortunately the euphoria of victory quickly turned to realisation that the fight had only just begun.
Despite being a world champion and being allowed to box elsewhere, the British Boxing Board of Control didn’t give licences to women. Discrimination for sure, but that was what Couch had to overcome, and she did. The reasons for not allowing Couch to box were laughable, embarrassing even, the book details them and leaves you shaking your head in disbelief.
The sport let Couch down on many occasions, despite the good it’s often a sport without morals, it’s often a bitter sweet science.
Before reading the book I thought I knew the Couch story, but I in reality I knew very little. The harsh truth of her fighting life is laid bare, its brutally honest, maybe too much at times.
There are some fantastic stories in there, my personal favourite being when Couch was at an awards dinner, seated at a table with Princess Diana and Jimmy Corkhill from Brookside. An unlikely combination maybe but you definitely would want a seat at that table, bizarre but shows a life can be taken to places you couldn’t realistically dream of.
The book is thoroughly entertaining, eye-opening for much of it and well worth buying even for people with little or no interest in boxing.