|Birth||28 June 1945, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom|
Ken Buchanan, MBE (born 28 June 1945), is a British retired professional boxer and the former Undisputed World Lightweight Champion from Edinburgh. Buchanan is regarded by many as not only the greatest Scottish boxer of all time, but also one of the greatest British fighters ever, and the greatest British lightweight boxer in history.
Before turning pro, Buchanan was the 1965 ABA featherweight champion. He started boxing professionally on 20 September 1965, beating Brian Tonks by a knockout in the second round in London. He spent much of the early parts of his career fighting undistinguished opponents in England. His Scottish debut came in his 17th fight, when he outpointed John McMillan over 10 rounds on 23 January 1967. Prior to that, he had also beaten Ivan Whiter by a decision in 8 rounds.
Buchanan ran his winning streak to 23 consecutive bouts before challenging Maurice Cullen on 19 February 1968 for the British Lightweight title in London. He knocked Cullen out in the 11th Round and became a world classified Lightweight challenger.
He continued his way up the world Lightweight rankings by defeating Leonard Tavarez, Angel Robinson Garcia and Whiter (in a rematch) among others, but on 29 January 1970, he found his first stone on the boxing road when he challenged future world Jr. Welterweight champion Miguel Velazquez in Madrid, for the European Lightweight title. Buchanan lost a 15-round decision to Velazquez, but nevertheless, he continued his ascent towards the number one spot in the rankings by beating Tavarez in a rematch, Chris Fernandez and Brian Hudson, the latter of whom was beaten by a knockout in five in a defence of the British Lightweight title.
On September of that year, Buchanan travelled to Puerto Rico, where he would meet Ismael Laguna, the world lightweight champion from Panama, on 26 September. Many experts thought that San Juan's warm weather would affect Buchanan, but he upset those who thought that way and beat Laguna by a 15-round decision to become world's Lightweight champion. At that time, the WBA and the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC), were in the middle of a feud, and Buchanan was not allowed to fight in Scotland. He had to resort to fighting overseas for a short period of time. He finished 1970 beating Donato Paduano by a 10-round decision in a non-title bout.
Buchanan defeated Rubén Navarro in Los Angeles on 12 February 1971, acquired the vacant WBC championship and became the Undisputed World Lightweight Champion. After that, he was allowed to fight in Scotland again, and he returned there to beat former world junior welterweight champion Carlos Morocho Hernández by a knockout in eight.
Stripping of title
He was stripped of the WBC title for failing to defend against Pedro Carrasco on 25 June 1971. But he remained the WBA world Lightweight champion.
Then, he flew to New York to meet Laguna again, this time defending his world title. Buchanan retained the title with another decision over Laguna, and then he had a couple of non-title affairs, one in London and one in South Africa. The South African fight against Andries Steyn in Johannesburg was a mismatch with his opponent's corner throwing in the towel in the third round.
His next defence came on 26 June 1972, against Panama's greatest, the then undefeated Roberto Durán at the Madison Square Garden (MSG) in New York, in a bout which had a highly controversial ending. Durán was ahead on all three cards at the end of the 13th round, when both fighters exchanged punches after the bell. Buchanan went down, writhing in pain from a low blow, that Buchanan's trainer, Gil Clancy, said was caused by a knee to the groin. Referee Johnny LoBianco awarded the fight to Durán, insisting that the blow that took down Buchanan was "in the abdomen, not any lower" and that he felt that Buchanan would be unable to continue fighting. Columnist Red Smith of The New York Times wrote that LoBianco had to award the victory to Durán, even if the punch was a low blow, as "anything short of pulling a knife is regarded indulgently" in American boxing. Buchanan never received a rematch with Duran during the remainder of his boxing career; according to Gil Clancy this was because of no fan interest.
It is interesting that both fighters, his predecessor and his successor at the WBA championship were both Panamanians, Laguna and Duran.
In his next fight, Buchanan beat former 3 time world champion Carlos Ortiz by a knockout in six, also at the MSG, and he finished 1972 with a win over Chang Kil Lee.
In 1973, Buchanan started out by beating future world Lightweight champion Jim Watt by a decision after 15 rounds, to regain the British lightweight title. Soon, he embarked on another international tour that included more fights in the United States, several fights in Denmark, and one fight in Canada. He won each of those fights, leading towards a challenge of European Lightweight champion Antonio Puddu in Italy, and Buchanan added the European Lightweight championship belt to his shelf by defeating Puddu by a decision in 15 rounds. He retained the title by beating Tavarez for the third time, this time by a knockout in 14 at Paris, and then he travelled to Japan to fight for the world title again. This time, however, he was defeated by a decision in 15 rounds by the WBC's world champion, Guts Ishimatsu.
Buchanan re-grouped once again, and won in a defence of the European Lightweight title against Giancarlo Usai by a knockout in 12. But he retired from 1976 to 1978, leaving the European Lightweight title vacant.
When he returned to professional boxing in 1978, he won two straight bouts, but everything else started going backwards for him. Challenging Charlie Nash in Copenhagen, he lost by a decision in twelve. In 1980, he won two bouts in a row, but after that, he lost five bouts in a row, finally retiring for good after losing to George Feeney by a decision in eight on 25 January 1982. In 2000, he was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame.