Ex-boxer Ken Buchanan in hospital for alcoholism

Ken Buchanan. Picture: Greg Macvean

Ken Buchanan. Picture: Greg Macvean

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FORMER world champion boxer Ken Buchanan is reportedly in hospital battling alcohol addiction.

The 69-year-old boxing legend, who lives in Leith, was said to have been admitted to the Royal Edinburgh Hospital after being found slumped on a park bench.

And one friend was today quoted saying he feared Buchanan may never leave hospital.

“He’s under eight stones, which is around two less than what his fighting weight was,” said the friend.

“He spends most of his time in bed, he’s struggling to eat and is a shadow of his former self.

“He’s on some pretty strong medication. It’s hard to see him ever getting home.”

Son Raymond, 48, told a tabloid newspaper that his dad was also suffering from memory loss.

“It is so sad thinking of him in that state. He achieved so much in his career and is worth so much more than that.

“I’m very worried and hope he can recover. He has obviously had his issues with alcohol, which he has spoken publicly about before.

“But he was doing OK and was training young boxers in the gym. Unfortunately it’s now come to this. My heart is with him.”

Police and paramedics were called after he was found in “a drunken stupor” in Keddie Park, Leith, on August 29. He was taken to accident and emergency before being transferred to a unit which specialises in alcohol addiction.

It was the third time in a month medics had to attend the former lightweight ring hero who won two world titles in the 1970s. Worried nephew Scott Buchanan, 36, flew over from Canada to see him in October. He said: “He looked OK. He has some memory issues. Who knows where he is going to go from here?”

Raymond acknowledges he has had a troubled relationship with his father in the past. “It’s fair to say we’ve had our ups and downs,” he said.

“Hopefully we can now fix things so at least something good might come out of what has happened.

“I feel sorry that he is in this situation and my door is always open to him. He’s still my dad and a hero to me.”

In 2009, Buchanan spoke of problems with alcohol and said he had tried Alcoholics Anonymous but “couldn’t take it”.

Buchanan – who retired from the ring in 1982 – has been divorced twice and now lives with his long-term partner Carol-Ann Wilkie, 68.

He has two other children: Mark, 44, and Karen, 41.

Earlier this year, Ms Wilkie confiscated his Hall of Fame ring over fears he would lose it in the pub. “It’s in a drawer for safe-keeping,” she said.