Benny Lynch was a Scottish Fly weight professional boxer born in the Gorbals in 1913. He was considered by some to be one of the finest boxers below the lightweight division in his era and often been described as the greatest fighter that Scotland has ever produced.
In 1935, at the age of 22, during an interview with newspapers, Benny told of an incident he fondly remembered when he visited Blantyre in the late 1920’s. In his own words,
“There’s another little incident of my early days in the game that I often chuckle over. I had been booked to appear in an open-air promotion at Craighead Grounds, Blantyre. On the day of the show it rained steadily until well on the afternoon. (surprise, surprise for Blantyre!) When I arrived at Blantyre along with some other boxers, I found the promoter, fearing the show was destined to flop, had walked out on us.
Now, I wanted a few bob rather badly. Gathering the boys around, I told them if they were willing to take the chance, I would run the show and split it evenly all round. The proposal was carried unanimously. I took charge of everything, including the pay-box, the announcements, and the job of ushering patrons to their seats. I couldn’t finish my own fight quick enough. Know why? I was scared someone would do one with the takings. Just to make sure there was no monkey business, I kept one eye fixed the pay-box all the time I was in the ring. As boss of the show I had the job of splitting the cash. The boys stood around I counted it. Obviously they trusted me as much as I trusted them. We got thirteen shillings and eightpence each. All things considered, not too bad.”
Pictured is Benny during a fight that year in 1935. Sadly, just a few years after this interview, on 26 August 1939 his boxing license was officially withheld due to an inability to the meet standards of the Boxing Board’s fitness test. He would continue to battle with alcoholism for the rest of his life despite several attempts to treat the disease. Benny Lynch died in 1946 of malnutrition induced respiratory failure, aged just 33. He was buried at St. Kentigern’s cemetery in Glasgow, with some 2000 people attending the funeral.
If you want to know more, you can read about Benny’s life, successes and Demons here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Lynch
Benny is pictured at the start of WW2 with Joe Loius in Glasgow. My father in law has this photo and is related to Benny (in a roundabout way which means I am remotely too!).