Walter McGowan

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Walter McGowan
Real name Walter McGowan
Rated at Flyweight
Nationality British
Born 13 October 1942
Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died 15 February 2016(2016-02-15) (aged 73)
Monklands Hospital, Airdrie, North Lanarkshire
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 40
Wins 32
Wins by KO 14
Losses 7
Draws 1
No contests 0

Walter McGowan, MBE (13 October 1942 – 15 February 2016), was a Scottish boxer born in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire. He was known for having been lineal world flyweight champion.

He was the son of Thomas McGowan, who had boxed under the name of "Joe Gans".

He was a skilful boxer, who showed brilliant footwork and knew how to use the ring. However, he suffered throughout his career with cuts, often having fights stopped despite being ahead on points. Without this failing, he would have had an even more successful career.[citation needed]

Amateur career[edit]

McGowan was the 1961 ABA Flyweight Champion.

He suffered only two defeats in 124 amateur bouts.

Fought amateur David Ferguson for 3 rounds and only won on point decision.

Professional career[edit]

He had his first professional fight in August 1961 when he fought George McDade at the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, winning by a technical knockout in the third round.

He lost his third fight to Jackie Brown on points, but then continued to build up an impressive list of wins. In his tenth fight he fought Jackie Brown for the British and Commonwealth flyweight titles. The fight was in May 1963 at the Ice rink, Paisley, and McGowan won by a knockout in the twelfth round.

In September 1963, he defended his Commonwealth title against Killer Salomon from Jamaica. The fight was in Paisley, and McGowan won by a technical knockout in the ninth round.

In April 1964, he challenged for the European flyweight title, held by Italian, Salvatore Burruni. The fight was held in the Olympic Stadium, Rome, and McGowan suffered the second defeat of his career, losing on points over fifteen rounds.

In December 1965, he stepped up a weight and challenged for the European bantamweight title, held by Italian, Tommaso Galli. The fight was again in Rome and ended as a draw after fifteen rounds.

In June 1966, he again fought Salvatore Burruni, this time for the lineal world flyweight championship, which Burruni held. They met at the Empire Pool, Wembley, and McGowan won a fifteen-round points decision to gain the lineal world title, despite sustaining a badly gashed eye in the seventh round. Cuts were to prove a major problem in his career.

In September 1966, he fought Alan Rudkin at the Empire Pool, for the British and Commonwealth bantamweight titles that he held. McGowan scored another fifteen-round points win, despite suffering a cut eye in the tenth round.

In December 1966, he defended his lineal world title against Chartchai Chionoi in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai fighter won and took the title when McGowan suffered a badly cut nose in the ninth round, and the referee was forced to stop the fight.

The two boxers had a re-match at the Empire Pool in September 1967, but again the Thai boxer won and kept his title, when cuts to both McGowan’s eyes and his forehead caused the referee to stop the fight in the seventh.

In McGowan’s next fight, in May 1968, he lost his British and Commonwealth bantamweight titles to Alan Rudkin. The fight was at Belle Vue, Manchester and Rukin won by a fifteen-round points decision.

McGowan fought six more fights, all against foreign boxers, winning them all, before retiring. His last fight was in November 1969 against Domenico Antonio Chiloiro.


He became the first Scottish world-boxing champion to be so honoured when he was in the Queen's Birthday honours list in 1966.

He was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, alongside the likes of Scottish boxing great Ken Buchanan.

Later life and death[edit]

McGowan died at Monklands Hospital at Airdrie, North Lanarkshire on 15 February 2016.[1] He had been in poor health in his later years and was living in a nursing home in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire.

See also[edit]


Preceded by
Salvatore Burruni
Lineal World Flyweight Champion
The Ring Magazine Flyweight Champion

14 June 1966 – 30 December 1966
Succeeded by
Chartchai Chionoi