Scotland has had many great World Champions over the years and many more great fighters that whilst never quite getting their hands on a World Title nevertheless were excellent and had exciting fights that got the fans on their feet. Here we look at just a few of the big nights to have happened in Scotland over the years.
Alex Arthur v Michael Gomez
Voted fight of the year in 2003 it was the 25th of October when undefeated at this point Alex Arthur squared up against the tough Mancunian who most people thought was coming to the tail end of a tough career. Alex was defending his British Title at the Meadowbank Sports Centre in Edinburgh and fully expected to brush past Gomez. Over 5 rounds of action Alex boxed well off the back foot initially but was cut in the 3rd and knocked down twice in the 5th before the third knockdown again the in the 5th caused referee John Coyle to step in and stop the contest. Despite all of Alex’s achievements, this is probably the fight that people will remember him for most.
Ricky Burns V Roman Martinez
4th September 2010 and hearts were in mouths from the get-go at a packed Kelvin Hall as the hot favourite on the night Martinez floored Ricky in the first round. This helped make the atmosphere even more amazing than it usually is as a packed venue watched Ricky come back into the contest and ultimately outbox and outfight Martinez to win a unanimous decision by 115/112 on 2 scorecards and 115/113 on the other to become the WBO Champion the first of the world titles he would win at 3 different weights.
Jim Watt V Howard Davis Jnr
7th June 1980 at Ibrox Park in Glasgow where around 20,000 watched as Jim Watt defended his WBC Lightweight crown against the heralded Olympic gold medallist American. Davis Jnr was touted as one of the “next big things” to come from the USA and even mentioned in the same breath as Sugar Ray Leonard. It did not go to plan for him on the night as although he had the faster hands Watt was able to slip and slide well enough and land his own counterpunches. The fight went the full 15 rounds with Jim being awarded a unanimous decision by all three judges, the scorecards reading 145–144 149-142 and 147-144 in his favour. Before they fought Davis Jnr had said: “Jim who”? it helped prompt the title of Jim’s autobiography “Watt’s my name”
Ken Buchanan V Jim Watt
Ken Buchanan never actually had that many fights in Scotland; however, on 29th January 1973, he fought Jim Watt over 15 rounds at the Albany Hotel in Glasgow for the British Lightweight Title. This was also the first fight to be held by the St Andrews Sporting Club which is still going strong. Watt was the champion but Buchanan the favourite and more experienced fighter but Watt held himself well to go the full 15 rounds with referee George Smith awarded the contest to Buchanan, although there were only around 900 spectators due to the size of the venue this still goes down in a lot of people’s list of favourite fights.
Benny Lynch V Pat Palmer
Back on the 16th September 1936 The British Title, EBU European Title and the National Boxing Association (as it was known at the time) World Title were all contested by possibly the greatest boxer to come from Scotland and Shawfield Park in Glasgow was the venue as Benny Lynch beat Palmer by knocking him out in the 8th round. Benny was 23 at the time and unfortunately, his lifestyle would dictate that his career would be over 2 years later whilst his life would be over at the age of 33.
These are by no means meant to be the best fights that have happened, simply a selection of big nights. I could have added many more including Gary Jacobs, Scott Harrison, Walter McGowan, Pat Clinton and Paul Weir. Everyone will have their own favourite fighter and their own favourite fights feel free to comment with any you think should be included.