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Ever thought to yourself, I quite like the idea of learning more about Greek Mythology but I'm not prepared to dedicate the next 12 months of my life to getting through that 1,200 page tome on the topic?

For the period from 1929 through 1943, Montparnasse's Felipe Beaulieu was Paris' undisputed bare-knuckle boxing champion. Standing a diminutive five foot one, what the heavily-moustachioed Beaulieu lacked in stature, he made up for with blistering speed and an often ill-directed temper, exacerbated by a sizzling case of syphilis.

To Part 1... As dawn's first light stroked a sepia outline to London's silhouette, for the first time in weeks, I allowed myself the slightest of smiles. As far as leads went it was a long shot but in a case like this where everything else had come up cold, a long shot was all I had. I jumped into my car — a 1996 Ford Facial with a unhealthy thirst for oil — and headed downtown for HQ. I like to drive, it gives me time to think.

For the purist, the beautiful game is not something to be tinkered with, but for the rest of us, there's a world of football half-breeds out there and some of them are worth a closer look. With Euro 2016 on the horizon, now's a great time to cast an eye over some of the more unique variations, ranging from the violent and bloody to the sublimely beautiful.

A turbaned Pashtun offers me a joint with a toothless smile and a nod of his head before he squats on his haunches. "Afghanistan", he says, pointing to the joint and then to the right of the sun sinking slowly toward the horizon. Twenty metres to my left, a dozen men on prayer mats bow in unison toward Mecca — a thousand-plus miles to the west over brambles and hillocks of scorched, ochre earth. If nowhere has a middle, it's got to be close.