FORMER world lightweight champion boxer Ken Buchanan is to be immortalised in the form of a statue in his home city of Edinburgh.
Fundraisers wanting to erect a permanent tribute to the Leith legend have confirmed that, after two years, the money is now in place.
Nearly half a century after he was crowned champion, a local company, Powderhall Bronze, has been commissioned, along with artist Alan Herriot, to create a likeness of the former boxer.
Discussions are also ongoing with The City of Edinburgh Council and various organisations to select a site for the statue, with Meadowbank, the redeveloped St James Centre and Ocean Terminal in the frame.
Buchanan, now 73, first captured the wider boxing public’s imagination when he beat Ismael Laguna in Puerto Rico in 1970, also earning the American Boxing Writers’ Association’s Fighter of the Year award ahead of Muhammad Ali.
The following year he became undisputed world champion, beating Ruben Navarro in Los Angeles. He subsequently lost his title 12 months later to Roberto Duran at Madison Square Garden, when he suffered a controversial low blow in the 13th round that led to him passing blood for several days.
Buchanan was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2000 and his friend and ex-fighter Owen Smith, chairman of the Ken Buchanan Foundation, believes the honour is long overdue.
The Foundation was launched two years ago to raise £50,000 for the statue through a series of fundraising events.
He said: “In boxing terms, Ken put Edinburgh on the map. But some people scoffed. We’ve proved the doubters wrong.”