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Top 5 Best Scottish Boxers

Best Boxers from Scotland in Boxing History

When you think of some of the all-time greats in boxing history, Scotland doesn’t always come to mind. Over recent decades, top tier fighters have been sparse from the region, but in the sport’s long history, legends have popped up time and again. Take a look at this collection of the best Scottish boxers ever.

  1. Benny Lynch (Career: 1931-1938): One of the greatest flyweights of all time, reigning in the late-30’s. Lynch may have been spent by the time he was 25 and was a tragic figure who died penniless as an alcoholic, but was one of the more thrilling fighters of his time. His exploits as a punching machine who used subtle defensive maneuvers is still evident even in the ancient fighting clips that exist on Lynch. First served international notice when he flattened respected Jackie Brown in 1935. Won World Flyweight belt over famed Filipino Small Montana, defending against 42-0 Peter Kane. With his abilities slipping, still managed to notch a final good win in knocking out 37-2-2 top contender Jackie Jurich.
  2. Ken Buchanan (Career: 1965-1982): The elegant, tough, and capable Scot rose to the top of the lightweight class during one of its most stacked eras. Dominated a tough European scene, before punching his ticket with a big win over Hall of Famer Ismael Laguna for the WBA Lightweight Title in 1970. Two wins over very solid challengers Ruben Navarro and Carlos Hernandez led to a rematch win over Laguna. Fought gallantly in losing to all-time great Roberto Duran in 1972, when a punch to the groin ended Buchanan’s evening. Strangely, was long denied another title fight, despite coming back strongly with wins over an aging Carlos Ortiz, top Korean Chang-Kil Lee, fellow top Scot Jim Watt, 40-2-2 Frankie Otero, and 52-2-1 Antonio Puddu as part of a long winning streak.
  3. Be sure to check out the rest of our Boxing: The Best of a Nation series for more top 5 and 10 lists of the best boxers from different countries and locales.
  4. Jim Watt (Career: 1968-1981): A longtime domestic threat, the resolute Watt put it all together late to build a solid world-class resume. At 26-7, his future looked ordinary, before beating a slew of top Europeans to establish his credentials. Won vacant WBC Lightweight belt against Alfredo Pitalua and made defenses against Robert Vasquez and top Irishman Charlie Nash. His final two wins were truly special, as he defeated unbeaten Gold Medalist Howard Davis, Jr. and 73-1 future titlist Sean O’Grady. The O’Grady win required some luck, as the seasoned Watt craftily utilized some head-butts to orchestrate a come-from-behind stoppage over the thin-skinned “Bubblegum Kid.” In his final fight, acquitted himself admirably in losing the belt to a peak Alexis Arguello.
  5. Johnny Hill (Career: 1926-1929): With a pro career that spans just under 3 years, Hill deserves some credit for what might have happened if he had not died at 23, a month before he was to face all-time great flyweight Frankie Genaro. Still, the 2-time World Flyweight Champion, 18-1-3 (9 KOs) accomplished a lot, including a pair of wins over future champ Spider Pladner and a title-winning effort over the excellent Newsboy Brown.
  6. Jackie Paterson (Career: 1938-1951): Beat legendary Rinty Monaghan (28-1-4) in only his second fight, signaling the beginning of a long period of excellence over an ultra-demanding era of flyweights, during a time when the best little men were from this part of the world. Mostly kept the World Flyweight Title on ice from 1943-1948, after winning it with a 1st-round knockout of Peter Kane.

Hopefully you enjoyed our list of the best boxers from Scotland. If you care to nominate anyone else or have a different opinion, then leave your response below.