BOXING legend Ken Buchanan today spoke of his heartbreak after his father and trainer passed away at the age of 97.
The former world lightweight champion will bury his dad Tommy – who he credits with his incredible success in the ring – at a quiet family ceremony in Edinburgh today.
The 67-year-old, widely regarded as the best boxer to have come out of Scotland, insisted he would have never have won anything had it not been for the support of his dad and mentor.
Buchanan reportedly said: “If it wasn’t for my dad I’d have never even been a boxer, let alone world champion.”
The Portobello-born fighter, relived the moment he said goodbye to his dad before he passed away at the weekend.
He said: “I’d been up at the hospital on Saturday and he passed away just after I went away. I’d just got home when I got the phone call.
“I could just make out some of his words that last time. He was saying things like, ‘You look after yourself, son. You take care and tell your brother Alan as well’.
“He knew it was close. He said to me, ‘Son, I just want to die’.”
Father-of-two and grandad Tommy had been battling ill health for the past few months.
Buchanan, whose mum Cathy died of cancer aged just 51 in 1968, was awarded an MBE in 1971 for his services to sport.
His father had accompanied his son to Los Angeles when he became the first British fighter inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2000.
He said: “I kept looking for somebody about 50 or 60 years old to get up out that bed and say, ‘Hey son, fancy going down to the swimming baths?’
“It’s a big loss but I’ll just have to get by. My dad was always there for me — any problems I had. I’m lucky because I had a great father and a great mother so I have nothing to complain about.”
It was former city tram driver Tommy who introduced his eight-year-old son to the sport that catapulted him to worldwide fame.
Buchanan, who now lives in Leith, said: “I remember in 1953 he took me to the pictures to see Bomber Brown — the story of the boxer Joe Louis — and that was it. By the end of that year I had won my first title, aged eight-and-a-half and weighing 3st 2lbs.
“When I was eight, he’d get down onto his knees to get to about the same height as me and he’d say, ‘Right, show me how you throw that other hand of yours’. Unknown to me at the time, I was dropping my left to throw my right and he’d go ‘boof’ and give me a wee hit on the side of the head.
“And he’d say, ‘Now, see that? You need to keep your hands up all the time’.”