Ken Buchanan was one of Scotland’s finest boxers, rising from his amateur days in Edinburgh to become the undisputed world lightweight champion.
Starting out as ABA featherweight champion, Ken began boxing professionally in 1965, beating Brian Tonks by a knockout in the second round in London. He then spent much of his early career fighting in England, with his first Scottish appearance not coming until his 17th professional bout in 1967.
Ken continued to slowly climb the ranks until, on 26 September 1970, he stepped between the ropes on a sweltering 52oC (125oF) night in Puerto Rico. Facing him was Ismael Laguna, the world lightweight champion from Panama. Many believed the heat would sap the Scot, but he caused a major upset to win by a 15-round decision.
In 1971, he successfully defended his title in Los Angeles and New York against Rubén Navarroand Laguna respectively, acquiring the vacant WBC belt to become undisputed world lightweight champion.
Following a string of other successful defences, the Scot’s reign was finally ended by Roberto Duran at Madison Square Garden in June 1972. However, the fight ended in controversial circumstances with Duran accused of flooring Ken with a low blow. Ken continued boxing and was British lightweight champion until 1974 and European champion until 1975.
He finally hung up his gloves in 1983 after an 18-year professional career in which he’d won 61 of his 69 fights, 27 by knockout.
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