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Johnny Fantastic & The Gladiator

Johnny Fantastic & The Gladiator

Johnny Fantastic & The Gladiator



Kim Flitcroft Director
Kim Flitcroft
Sandra Goldbacher Director
Sandra Goldbacher


Alex Usborne’s 1990 documentary film tributes to Sheffield boxer, Johnny Nelson, for 7-Sport, made in association with LWT for Channel 4. Directed by Kim Flitcroft and Sandra Goldbacher.

“ I grew up in Sheffield and I began writing stories about people I'd known and life in Sheffield, and those stories got commissioned into the first film about a boxer,” says Alex Usborne.  “Johnny Nelson, ‘Johnny Fantastic’. He took up boxing in his teens in a bid to emulate his elder brother. But in the early years he seemed a long way from becoming a boxing world champion, and he fought through some difficult times, in and out of the ring.”

Legendary trainer Brendan Ingle agrees. “The biggest success story from our gym is Johnny Nelson. He came from a very poor background. We trained him seven days a week and he came from one end of Sheffield catching two busses, and people used to say to me ‘he's rubbish, he's gonna do nothing’, I says 'he'll finish a world champion’, and he did.”



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