Edinburgh singer Kevin Gore in fundraise drive for boxer statue

Kevin Gore plans to donate the sales from his CD towards a statue. Pic: Bill Henry
Kevin Gore plans to donate the sales from his CD towards a statue. Pic: Bill Henry
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A LOCAL musician has lent his voice to a campaign to honour ring legend Ken Buchanan with a tribute song.

Singer/songwriter Kevin Gore has been a long-time fan of Leith-born Ken and decided to write “Ken Buchanan – Edinburgh Man” as an effort to help raise money for a statue of the former boxer.

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 are determined to raise £50,000 for the statue to be built as a cultural memorial of his world class boxing accolades.

And now musician Kevin Gore has written and recorded a song dedicated to the 72-year-old boxing legend in a bid to raise money from CD sales and online downloads.

He said he was inspired by stories he was told of Ken and also by spontaneous conversations he had with the boxer.

“My father was a great admirer of Ken,” said dad-of-three Kevin. “And I had also met Ken at boxing shows and bars in Leith.

“That gave me the inspiration to write and record the song and I’ve decided that any proceeds from it will be donated to the foundation.

“I knew Ken was a regular at the Central Bar in Leith so I managed to get into conversation with him there one night.

“We had a good chat and I managed to get some insight into his life as both a boxer and as a person – this helped me to ensure that the song would do him justice.

Ken, who knew nothing about the song, was moved to tears when he first heard it played.

His lengthy scoresheet reveals the career of a dedicated sportsman who continually fought at the top of his game. He has been hailed an inspiration, a gentleman and a legend, and was crowned the World Boxing Association world lightweight champion in 1970, defeating Ismael Laguna in Puerto Rico. In the same year, 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.

Kevin added: “If he had been born in Glasgow where boxing was held in higher esteem he would already have a statue – they’ve got statues for lots of sporting heroes.

“Ken’s achievements are amazing – we’ve got to make sure we honour that.”

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh is a patron of the foundation set up by Buchanan’s lifelong friend, Owen Smith, to immortalise the lightweight legend with a statue.

The song, produced for free by Adam Holmes, will be available for download via the bandcamp music platform and the official launch of the CD will take place at the Leith Folk Club, Victoria Park House Hotel on February 27.

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk