On This Day: Ken Buchanan dethrones Ismael Laguna to score a truly great British victory on away soil


Ismael Laguna opens as a 5/2 favourite with good reason but Ken Buchanan marches on

September 26, 1970; Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico
KEN BUCHANAN was a pasty Scot from Edinburgh, a city where the stifling heat that raged in Puerto Rico was pure fantasy. Ismael Laguna, the world lightweight king and a dancing master, knew the conditions of his homeland well. The logic went that Laguna would cruise to a points victory as a tiring Buchanan lost his way amid the sweat and pressure. That thinking seemed spot on in the early going as the tricky champion bobbed and weaved and flaunted his speed of hand and foot. But Ken would not be denied. He matched the balletic Laguna move for move, forced the fight with his jab and – just when it looked like Laguna might take over down the stretch – he made himself at home in the 100-degree heat and finished the fight the stronger of the two. After 15 rounds, the majestic Buchanan won a split decision (145-144, 144-143 and 143-144).

The British Boxing Board of Control did not recognise the WBA title at stake (Laguna had been stripped of the WBC belt because of a fall-out with a promoter) and did not give Buchanan permission to box abroad.

WATCH OUT FOR: The assault in the 12th when Buchanan gains control of a gruelling bout, staggering the champion.

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