Capital boxing icon sets legacy in stone

Ken Buchanan, former world lightweight champion.
Ken Buchanan, former world lightweight champion.
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He is considered to be the greatest British boxer ever and now he will forever remain part of the city he proudly calls home.

Former undisputed World Lightweight Champion boxer Ken Buchanan, 71, has had his famous fighting hands 
immortalised.

Ken Buchanan presses his hands down to make the imprints. Picture: Lloyd Smith

Ken Buchanan presses his hands down to make the imprints. Picture: Lloyd Smith

The retired boxer’s hands have been cast in stone at the Colin Braid Stone Workshop after being honoured with the Edinburgh Award for 2016.

The handprints will be painted gold and laid in the quadrangle outside the City Chambers.

He will join ranks of talented city legends and previous Edinburgh Award recipients, including Sir Tom Farmer, Sir Chris Hoy, JK Rowling and Ian Rankin.

Established in 2007, the prestigious annual award honours an outstanding individual who has made a positive impact on the city and gained national and international recognition for Edinburgh.

And Leith-born Ken, who was once voted Britain’s Greatest Ever Boxer by the Boxing News, has now been recognised with the “long overdue” award.

Buchanan joined the city’s Sparta boxing club aged eight and turned professional in 1965 at the age of 20.

He famously fought on the same bill as Muhammad Ali in Madison Square Garden, twice.

And two years later he made his Scottish debut in his 17th fight, when he beat John McMillan in Glasgow.

He famously never got the chance to fight in his home city where he said city officials failed to recognise the draw of the sport. But now his name will be inscribed on an Edinburgh Award plaque and his hands forever embedded in the Old Town.

He will also be presented with an engraved Loving Cup at a ceremony on March 3.

He said: “I am absolutely overwhelmed that this prestigious honour will be presented to me.

“The fact that I’ll have everlasting handprints cast in stone at the Royal Mile is just amazing and I would like to thank everyone who voted for me.”

Lord Provost Donald Wilson said: “In many ways, a lasting tribute for Ken Buchanan in his home city is long overdue.

“It seems right to me that those famous fighting hands will be immortalised in stone and given pride of place along our very own Edinburgh Award ‘walk of fame’.”

Buchanan, who was brought up in Northfield, was the first British fighter to win the world lightweight title since 1917 when he claimed the crown in 1970.

He is the only living British fighter in the International Boxing Hall of Fame which he was inducted into in 2000 as a Boxing Undisputed World Lightweight Champion.

He retired from boxing in 1982, 17 years after his first professional fight in 1965 where he beat Brian Tonks by a knockout in the second round in London.

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk