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Jim Watt

Jim Watt Profile Image
  • Nickname: None
  • Date of Birth: 18th July 1948 (75 years old)
  • Retired: 20th June 1981 (Career length: 12 years 7 months)
  • Status: Retired
  • Nationality: Scotland Flag Scotland
  • Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom Flag Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • Residence: Kirkintilloch, Scotland, United Kingdom Flag Kirkintilloch, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • Division: Lightweight
  • Height: 171cm
  • Reach: 180cm
  • Stance: Southpaw
  • BoxRec: Jim Watt
  • Debut: 30th October 1968

Biography

Jim Watt MBE, born on July 18, 1948, in Glasgow, Scotland, is a celebrated former boxer and commentator whose career is etched into the annals of boxing history. Raised in the tough neighbourhoods of Bridgeton and Possilpark, Watt's early life was marked by tragedy when he lost his father at the tender age of five. Despite this, Watt found solace and purpose in boxing, training at the Cardowan Amateur Boxing Club in Maryhill.

Watt's rise to prominence began in 1968 when he defeated John H. Stracey to win the ABA Championships. Opting to turn professional rather than compete in the 1968 Summer Olympics, Watt embarked on a career that would eventually see him reach the pinnacle of the lightweight division. His breakthrough came in 1979 when Roberto Durán vacated the world title, and the WBC pitted Watt against Alfredo Pitalua. Demonstrating his tenacity and skill, Watt knocked out Pitalua in the twelfth round to claim the lightweight crown.

Throughout his career, Watt faced and defeated numerous notable fighters, including future world champion Sean O'Grady, former world champion Perico Fernandez, Charlie Nash, and Howard Davis Jr. His victory over O'Grady was particularly controversial. Watt won by a technical knockout in the twelfth round due to a cut on O'Grady's face. The decision was contentious because the cut was believed to have been caused by a headbutt. However, the referee ruled it resulted from a punch, securing Watt's victory.

Not all of Watt's battles ended in triumph. In 1973, he faced Ken Buchanan in a British Lightweight title match, losing after fifteen gruelling rounds. His final bout occurred on June 20, 1981, against the formidable Alexis Argüello. Despite a valiant effort, Watt lost the WBC World lightweight title by a fifteen-round decision in London, marking the end of his professional career. He retired with an impressive record of 38 wins, including 27 by knockout, and 8 losses, with only 3 by knockout.

Watt's contributions to boxing were recognized in 1980 when he was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to the sport. Transitioning from the ring to the commentary box, Watt became a long-term co-commentator with Reg Gutteridge on ITV's "The Big Fight Live." When ITV ceased its boxing coverage in 1996, Watt and Gutteridge moved to Sky Sports, where Watt continued to share his expertise until he retired from commentary in 2016.

Outside the ring, Watt made a notable appearance on the BBC sitcom "Still Game" in 2007 and was a familiar face in 1980s television adverts for Kelvin Timber. He and his family settled in Kirkintilloch, a town north of Glasgow. Watt's personal life, however, was marked by profound tragedies. In June 2015, his 38-year-old daughter, Michelle Watt, who had carved out a career as a television hostess, tragically took her own life after suffering from chronic headaches caused by a spinal operation. This devastating loss followed the death of Watt's 17-year-old son, James, in a car crash in 1995.

Jim Watt's legacy in boxing is distinguished by his achievements in the ring and his contributions as a commentator, enriching the sport with his insights and passion. His life, marked by professional triumphs and personal losses, underscores the resilience and spirit that defined his journey from the streets of Glasgow to becoming a world champion.