Edinburgh boxer Ken Buchanan dies 'peacefully in his sleep' a year after son's dementia announcement
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The former undisputed world lightweight champion, who unveiled a statue of himself outside the St James Quarter last year, is often named in the lists of the world’s greatest boxers of all time. He conquered the lightweight division in the early 1970s and ended his career with a fight record of 61 wins from 69 fights, winning 27 by knockout.
Ken’s death comes a year after his son Mark confirmed he had been diagnosed with dementia. Confirming the sad news today, The Ken Buchanan MBE Foundation said: “It's with great sadness that we have to inform you that Ken Buchanan passed away peacefully in his sleep this morning. Further announcements will come and please give the family some time to process this sad news. RIP Ken, always a gentleman and one of the best champions we will ever see.”
Born in Edinburgh in 1945 and growing up in Northfield, Ken took up boxing at the age of eight, at Edinburgh's Sparta Club on MacDonald Road. There, he would hone his boxing skills and go onto become a decorated amateur, winning the ABA featherweight title in 1965 shortly before turning professional.
The years that followed saw the North Edinburgh legend travel the world with his trademark tartan shorts and fighting across five continents, capturing the British lightweight title from Maurice Cullen in 1968 before climbing to the higher echelons of the sport to claim world title honours in 1970. Armed with an educated left jab and evasive lateral movement, complemented with his tenacity and high ring IQ, he would unify the division in 1971 by adding the WBC belt to his collection.
That same year Ken became the British Sports Writers’ Sportsman of the Year – a year after he was voted fighter of the year by the American Boxing Writers’ Association in 1970 ahead of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frasier. In recognition of his sporting achievements he was awarded an MBE 1972.
In 2000, Ken was the first living British boxer to be inducted into the International Hall of Fame he was the recipient of the Edinburgh Award in 2018.