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17 October 2014

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Boxing

Pat Clinton

Pat Clinton

© SCRAN

Scottish flyweight great Pat Clinton's Croy birthplace in Dunbartonshire has fighting connections going back to Roman times, when it was selected by the Romans,as a key point in their Antonine Wall defences.

How appropriate then that Pat Clinton would take this Roman connection full circle by winning his European flyweight crown by beating Salvatore Fanni in the Italian's home town in August 1990. Nor does the marriage of Latin connection and Clinton ring triumph end there.

In 1992, in an emotional evening in Glasgow's Kelvin Hall, Croy and Scotland's pride, Pat Clinton, made Dad Billy Clinton's dream come true for 12 months between 1992-93 when Pat outpointed defending WBO champion Isadore Perez from Mexico over 12 torrid rounds.

This famous ring victory prompted Clinton's manager and promoter, Tommy Gilmour, when asked post-fight if he would grant beaten Perez a rematch into the unforgettable reply: "No. The Mexicans didn't grant a rematch at the Alamo!"

Every story has a beginning and Pat Clinton's (born 4 April 1964) has its roots when rising boxing star of the 1940s, Billy Clinton, from Auchenstarrie met and married his beloved Sadie from the neighbouring Croy hamlet of Smithston. In due course, the couple had a family of ten children - six boys and four girls.

Meanwhile, Billy Clinton came from solid boxing stock.His brother Jim won two British A.B.A. boxing titles in 1944 and 1947 and Billy himself, won the same Scottish pro flyweight title in Perth in 1940 that son Pat would also win 47 years later. Even more impressiively, on 14 December 1940, Billy Clinton beat Dundonian Freddie Tennant who once drew and outpointed the great Benny Lynch in the 1930s.

But Billy Clinton's dream of emulating Benny Lynch by winning a world title some day was destroyed inside two rounds on New Year's Day 1941 in Dundee by big-hitting Ayrshire southpaw Jackie Paterson.

But Billy Clinton's unfulfilled dream became an inspiration to Billy's youngest son Pat, whom Clinton senior has himself selected as the boxer with the most potential among his six boxing sons - Michael, William, (known as Billy junior) Peter, Danny, Bernard and Pat.

Pat Clinton was born in the same month of April 1964 as Hamilton flyweight great Walter McGowan unsuccesfully made a challenge for the same European flyweight crown in Italy that Pat would later win in that same country.

Nor was that the only link between Walter McGowan and the man from Croy who would succeed Walter as a world flyweight champion nearly a quarter of a century later.

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