Team Scotland boxers have such a fantastic record at the Commonwealth Games that choosing just five ‘top’ Games is a hard task. From the highest number of medals won to performances that ended long waits for Scottish gold, here are just some of the highlights of Scotland’s participation in Commonwealth Games Boxing.
Six medals, including gold for Dick McTaggart and Jackie Brown, make Cardiff 1958 Scotland’s top Boxing performance to date. In fact Boxing contributed the most medals of any sport to the Scottish medal tally in Cardiff, almost half of the total 13 medals won. Jackie Brown took the Flyweight title, the third Scottish boxer in as many Games to do so, while reigning Olympic Champion Dick McTaggart performed to expectations to take Lightweight gold, never looking troubled by his final opponent James Jordan of Northern Ireland.
Robert Kane took silver, beaten in the Light Welterweight final by Olympic bronze medallist Henry Loubscher of South Africa, while Alfred Owen (Bantamweight), Robert Scott (Welterweight) and William Bannon (Light Heavyweight) took bronze.
Seven medals from the 10 boxers selected – three silver & four bronze – gave Scotland their top boxing medal tally in history. The only thing missing was a gold, the unluckiest boxers probably being Jim McAllister, taking Welterweight silver after retiring after a cut and Dougie Young, who was well ahead on points before being caught by New Zealand’s Jimmy Peau with a desperate punch 32 seconds from the end of the Heavyweight final.
Harry Lawson took silver in the Light Heavyweight, while Scotland’s four bronze medals came from Glen Brooks (Bantamweight), Wilson Docherty (Light Flyweight), George Ferrie (Middleweight) and Alec Mullen (Light Middleweight).
For the fourth consecutive Games, Scotland won two Boxing gold medals as John McDermott took the Featherweight title and Robert Mallon upheld a 12 year run of keeping the Flyweight title in Scottish hands. Defending Lightweight champion Dick McTaggart had to settle for silver on this occasion as he moved up to Light Welterweight, defeated in the final by Ghana’s first Olympic medallist Clement Quartey.
With this silver in addition to his 1958 gold, McTaggart became the first Scottish boxer ever to win two Commonwealth Games medals and he remains Scotland’s most successful Commonwealth Games boxer alongside Thomas Imrie and Josh Taylor. Rounding out the 1962 medal count was Thomas Menzies, bronze medallist in the Light Heavyweight event.
The early rounds of the Boxing competition were held at the SECC and after a busy week in the ring, Scotland’s boxers secured four places in the semi-finals and were guaranteed four medals. Reece McFadden (52kg), who had taken out the World number 1 from Wales in his opening bout of the competition, had to settle for bronze in the Flyweight category after losing out in a split decision to Andrew Moloney of Australia. There was a bronze too for Heavyweight, Stephen Lavelle (91kg) who battled hard but came up just short against David Light of New Zealand.
But Delhi Silver medallist, Josh Taylor, and larger than life character, Charlie Flynn, made it all the way to the finals. There was a change of venue for the big occasion to the fabulous SSE Hydro Arena, packed with 10,000 fans determined to witness more Scottish success. Postal worker Charlie Flynn delivered in style and took Scotland to the 50 medal mark with boxing’s first gold of the Games in the 60kg Lightweight division, while Josh Taylor (64kg) completed his set of Commonwealth medals, adding gold to his Youth Games bronze in 2008 and silver in Delhi two years later. The final medal tally of two gold and two bronze was the best result for the sport since 1962.
Only two Boxing medals but both gold. Henry Gililand and Hugh Riley end Scotland’s 20 year wait for a Commonwealth Games champion. Scotland had last struck Boxing gold at the first Commonwealth Games ever held in 1930 as Jim Rolland took the Lightweight title. While Scottish boxers continued to pick up medals at the 1934 and 1938 Games, gold had eluded them and this, combined with the cancellation of the 1942 and 1946 Games due to World War II, meant it was a full two decades before Scotland took their second (and third) boxing gold.
Gilliland and Riley’s achievements are all the more remarkable as they had to adapt their training to conditions on board ship during the three week sea voyage to New Zealand. In fact, Gilliland, the reigning British champion, had to pause his training twice on the journey due to injury but still came through to take the Featherweight title by defeating Peter Brander of England in the semi-finals and Rhodesia’s Andy Verceuil in the final.
These of course are just some of the highlights across almost 90 years Commonwealth Games history. With medals at every Games since they began in 1930, there is a wealth of Scottish Boxing history to celebrate.