Campaigners raise £13k in bid for Ken Buchanan statue

Ken Buchanan pictured at Lochend Gym / LA Fitness for feature on his boxing career detailed in his recently released book. Pic Greg Macvean.
Ken Buchanan pictured at Lochend Gym / LA Fitness for feature on his boxing career detailed in his recently released book. Pic Greg Macvean.
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BOXING legends have punched a massive hole in the funding deficit for a statue of acclaimed boxer Ken Buchanan after a star-studded dinner raised more than £13,000.

The event brought together past and present champions in support of the Ken Buchanan Foundation (KBF) to help secure a statue for the “tartan legend”.

The boxing elite rallied to show their appreciation for Ken and the former world lightweight champion’s lifelong friend and former fighter Owen Smith, who started the Ken Buchanan Foundation two years ago, said only one more event would be needed to get them over the line of the £50,000 target.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted to say we have hit over the £13,000 mark from our evening with their legends at the Hilton hotel taking our total to £35,000. Only £15,000 to go and we can have the statue up and ready for ‘our Ken’.”

Owen added: “The KBF would like to thank everybody who supported the dinner show.

“Your support has been fantastic meaning that the KBF now has about £35,000 banked towards Ken’s statue. The KBF also has some funds in its GoFundMe account and sundry assets such as signed boxing gloves.

“Thanks to all KBF friends and supporters.”

The KBF is now going to register as a charity and apply for heritage funding to help secure the rest of the statue money.

Former world champion Jim Watt, world welterweight champion John H Stracey, WBC super-middleweight title holder and Commonwealth champ Richie Woodhall and lightheavyweight John Conteh were joined by current fighters light welterweight Josh Taylor, bantamweight prospect Lee McGregor, European champion Stephen Simmons and super lightweight Jason Easton. American former professional boxer Raymond Michael Mancini, best-known as Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, has been confirmed for the next event in September, which Owen hopes will secure the remaining funds.

Efforts to commission a public effigy of the former world lightweight champion – possibly at the bottom of Leith Walk – have been ongoing and trustees of the Ken Buchanan Foundation (KBF) are determined to raise £50,000 for the statue to be built as a cultural memorial of his world class boxing accolades.

Ken was recognised by the city with the prestigious Edinburgh Award in March last year.

His gold handprints have been set in a flagstone outside the council headquarters in appreciation of his sporting prowess.

His lengthy scoresheet reveals the career of a dedicated sportsman who continually fought at the top of his game.

He was crowned the World Boxing Association world lightweight champion in 1970, defeating Ismael Laguna in Puerto Rico.

He was also the American Boxing Writers’ Association’s Fighter of the Year, ahead of boxers such as Ali and Joe Frazier. In 1971 he defeated Ruben Navarro in Los Angeles to become WBC and undisputed world lightweight champion.

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk