Boxing: The man who would make Arthur king

The outgoing year of 2010 marked the 60th anniversary of the death in 1950 of Edinburgh's first great pro-am boxing trainer, Charlie Cotter.

Cotter not only trained and seconded Scotland's first Olympic boxing medal winner - Musselburgh featherweight Hugh Roddin at London in 1908 - but coached and hosted boxing luminaries such as American 1920 Olympics light-heavyweight champion Eddie Egan and English world champion Freddie Mills on their visits to the Capital.

Another distinction Cotter achieved was the coaching of Scotland's first professional title winner in "Tancy"' Lee before he won the British flyweight title in 1915. That was in the era when the Leith Victoria boxing club was founded and Cotter's gym was situated at the top of Leith Street, on a site now occupied by the St James Shopping Centre, and was considered to be the leading pro-am boxing gym in the Capital for the first 50 years of the 20th century. Now, coach Terry McCormack aims to make his Lochend gym bearing the famous old name as celebrated this century as Cotter's was.

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The gym can boast ex-world light-weight champion Ken Buchanan and football pundit Allan Preston as regulars as well as two former world and British champions making comebacks, a top pro light-middleweight and several outstanding amateur champions at weights ranging from feather to heavyweight under its wing.

McCormack is rightly proud of the gym's status and said: "Strictly speaking, the matching and career progression of ex-WBO super-featherweight Alex Arthur and former British featherweight champion Paul Appleby are the business of the fighters' management teams but my job is to make sure that they come into the ring fit, fired up and motivated.

"I look forward to helping Arthur to build on his win over Jay Morris earlier this month where he proved that his punch power, especially the body hooks, are still there by decking a guy who outweighed him by a fair margin.

"I'm confident that Arthur can and will capture a WBO Continental title as a starting point in the new year before going on to even more significant fights. I also aim to get Paul Appleby back in the gym after the holiday season and work on getting him ready to claw his way back to title contention and restore his confidence which was shaken when he lost a Commonwealth title fight to Ghanaian Joseph Laryea."

The dedicated coach continued: "Appleby should maybe have a long chat with current WBO featherweight champion Ricky Burns and discuss how he bounced back to win his world crown this year after losing a British title fight to Carl Johansen three years ago. Appleby is hugely talented and I'm sure Alex Arthur, who spars with him at the gym, would tell him that he faced a similar problem in 2003 after being stopped by Michael Gomez for the British title yet stormed back to win European and world titles."

The future looks bright at the gym at both professional and amateur levels with light-middleweight John Thain set to soar up the ratings after a spectacular first-round knock-out of Ian Eldridge at Braehead and heavyweight Stevie McNichol, who won the Eastern amateur crown last month, having his sights set on the Scottish Senior title in February and then boxing for Scotland.

Great things are also expected from young lightweight Josh Taylor, 19, who won silver at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and is targeting the world championships in Azerbaijan in June but the modest McCormack added: "Here at Lochend it's no one-man band as I get great back-up from my right-hand man, coach John McCarron."