Boxing archives: Ken Buchanan takes the crown but beaten Jim Watt comes of age

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Buchanan v Watt, British Lightweight Championship, 31 September 1973

A BLOODIED and bruised Ken Buchanan last night won outright the Lord Lonsdale Belt he had coveted so much. He regained the British Lightweight Championship when he beat Jim Watt on points over 15 furious rounds. The presentation of the belt was a formality; but not the winning of it. In as satisfying a title bout as one could hope to see, Buchanan had to shed the softness of the comfortable life he has led recently and resurrect from the depth of his being the fighting man who won the world championship.

It was hard, determined, primeval fighting which finally wrested the belt from the magnificent Watt - the underated holder praised so generously by Buchanan afterwards.

When the referee broke in to raise Buchanan's hand at the finish, the Edinburgh man whispered: "Honestly, Jim you're a better man than I thought you were."

Later, he said: "I have fought the best lightweights in the world, and I know what I'm talking about. I could not find one hard word to say against Jim Watt; it takes a man to do what he did tonight after 17 fights."

He pointed towards the defeated champion and said: "Jim, irrespective of what your manager thinks of me. I think you are a great fighter." The sentiment was acclaimed by a standing crowd. It was indeed a great fight with a turning point that flashed in the middle of the thirteenth round when it was still wide open...a turning point which highlighted all the stirring fighting qualities of the new champion.

When that round started, Buchanan was blood streaked and dour. Watt was stubbornly scoring points with light, but persistent punching. Then he showed a touch of tiredness and instantly, Buchanan flared into life. He was after him like an incensed terrier, chasing him viciously with heavy, thumping punches and never letting up. The gallant Watt wilted and never got back again into the fight.

Buchanan, once he had him going, chased, harried and punished. And from those few seconds in the middle of that thirteenth round, he snatched victory, championship and the belt.

It had been a thrilling night in Glasgow's newest hotel for the first British championship fight in Scotland for eight years. They were well sustained for the bout on river trout and spring chicken, and adequately fortified. They had to be, for the stirring encouter which was ahead.

Buchanan was quickly aggressive, stamping in flat-footed, stabbing the left past the southpaw stance of Watt, taking his less experienced opponent out of his stride, asserting his authority on the fight.

Watt found it difficult to get into the fight, and five rounds hade gone before he made any impression.By then, though, it was apparent he could take all Buchanan could heave at him.

At the end of the sixth, in which Watt was elusive , the assessment of his corner was that Buchanan was tiring.

Watt, with his right eyelid cut and his eyes puffed, bobbed and weaved and began to gather points. By the ninth, Buchanan was bleeding from his left eyebrow. There was much mauling and Watt was gaining in points.

So they went on - Buchanan still remaining part of his early lead, but the fight delicately poised until that moment in the thirteenth round when Watt, in all his inexperience, showed his tiredness. Then the fighting man in Buchanan came to the surface and carried him through.