The shorts heard around the world: Boxing photographer on the look-out for tartan shorts worn by Ken Buchanan

Ian Mackland (Ross Johnston/Newsline Media)
Ian Mackland (Ross Johnston/Newsline Media)

A former boxing photographer has launched a search to find a pair of tartan shorts worn by Ken Buchanan in a world championship fight.

Ian Mackland, 73, was given the shorts by Buchanan’s brother Alan the year after Ken successfully defended his world lightweight title against Ismael Laguna, from Panama, in 1971 in New York.

Ian later presented them to a pub below the world-famous Thomas A Becket Gym in Old Kent Road, London, where the late Sir Henry Cooper used to train.

Ian, from Aberdeen, wants to know they are still safe, after learning the bar and gym closed down two years ago.

A glove that Muhammad Ali wore in a fight against Henry Cooper at Wembley in 1963, and which also used to hang in a glass case on the pub wall, was auctioned off for £37,600 in 2011 and is insured for £1 million.

Ken – in his famous tartan trunks – defeats Ismael Laguna in their first fight in 1970

“The shorts would be worth several thousand pounds to the right collector, but I don’t want them back to sell,” Ian said.

“They are a part of Scottish sporting history and it would be nice to know they are still safe.”

Buchanan, now 72, is the only living British fighter in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He was voted Greatest Ever British Boxer in a 1978 poll organised by the sport’s British trade newspaper Boxing News.

Down the years, Ian photographed a number of boxing greats such as Mike Tyson, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Jim Watt, but Buchanan is his all-time favourite.

“To me he was the greatest and I would love to know what happened to those famous tartan shorts.”

Ken Buchanan last night said that he always gave his shorts away after matches.

“I had a pair made for my first world title fight against Laguna in Puerto Rico in 1970,” he said.

“They proved very popular so I kept getting them made.

“I remember giving away the shorts I wore against him for the second time, too. I’m amazed there is still interest in them.

“Good luck to Ian in tracking them down.”