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17 October 2014

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Jackie Paterson: World Champion 1943

Jackie Paterson

Boxing News

While fans of Scottish boxing were dismayed at the demise of former world flyweight champion Benny Lynch's career, they soon had a new hero and world champion at the same weight in the sturdy little form of Jackie Paterson.

Like his predecessor, Paterson was to enjoy sporting success and fame, but he too had his demons. He had an addiction to gambling on the greyhounds and a craving for alcohol when he retired from the ring.

Jackie Paterson was born in Springside in Ayrshire on 5 September 1920. His family emigrated to Scranton, Pennsylvania eight years later, but Paterson came home from the States as a teenager to work at John Brown shipyards on the Clyde, and then as a butcher.

Paterson fought for a short time as an amateur, having joined the Anderston Club in Glasgow at the age of 13. He turned professional at just 17, his first pro fight being staged in Greenock on 26 May 1938 when he beat Joe Kiely in 10 rounds.

He lost just one of his next 17 bouts in 1938 and 1939, fighting mostly in Glasgow but also travelling to cities such as Belfast, Newcastle and Dundee as he toured the pro circuit and built up an impressive record.

Jackie Paterson's style was to give scores of opponents a troublesome time. As a southpaw, he led with his right, but he was capable of knocking an opponent out with this hand too. His most potent weapon, though, was his venomous left hook. It is striking, looking at photos of the fighter, just how broad he was for a flyweight, making it none too surprising that he often struggled to make the eight stone limit, and predictable that the bantamweight limit of 8 stone 6 pounds was to become his more natural fighting weight.

On 30 September 1939, under barrage balloons in an open-air bout in Glasgow, Paterson fought the northern area champion Paddy Ryan for the vacant British Flyweight title. In the 13th round the referee decided Ryan had taken enough punishment from the Scot. He ended the fight and Paterson had won his first major belt.

While this title should have provided Paterson with a healthy income, the promoter George Dingley hadn't lodged enough of a bond with the British Boxing Board of Control. With the outbreak of war, the crowd was lower than it would otherwise have been and so the purse promised to Paterson never quite materialised.

Almost six months later, in March 1940, Paterson added the vacant Commonwealth Flyweight title to his collection, defeating Kid Tanner in Manchester. He notched up another seven straight wins at flyweight that year, and on 3 February 1941 in Nottingham gave Paddy Ryan a rematch, putting his British and Commonwealth titles up for grabs. Ryan lasted just eight rounds this time with the hard-hitting Paterson.

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