|Lynch, Benny||[Born: April 12, 1913, Glasgow - Died: August 6, 1946, Glasgow]|
Benny Lynch is widely regarded as one of the finest boxers that Britain has ever produced. His explosive punching power, immaculate timing, and prolific skill ensured that he had no equals among his contemporaries in the flyweight division.
Born in the Gorbals in Glasgow on April 12th 1913, the young Lynch grew up in the squalor of one of the most overcrowded immigrant ghettoes in Europe. He loved life in this cosmopolitan melting pot and soon established himself as one of the community’s favourite sons. Having turned professional in 1931 at the, Benny honed his prodigious natural talent by demolishing all before him on the boxing booth circuit. Under the expert, avuncular stewardship of his trainer and manager, Sammy Wilson, the boy from Florence Street won the Scottish title from Jim Campbell in May 1934. In March 1935, he drew with reigning British, European and World flyweight champion Jackie Brown over 12 rounds, setting up a title-fight re-match six months later.
The second fight, in Manchester, was watched by hundreds of travelling Scottish supporters; their faith was to be rewarded as Lynch demolished Brown in an outstanding display of power punching that saw the English opponent and undisputed world champion for three years on the canvas a total of eight times in just two rounds. Scotland’s first ever world boxing champion returned to Glasgow to be met by a joyous crowd of hundreds of thousands of people who lined his triumphal route from Central Station to his home in the south side of the city. The city fathers of Glasgow Corporation denied him a formal welcome, but the people of Glasgow turned out to pay tribute the likes of which had never been seen before and would never be seen again: one of them who had denied all the odds to rise to the very apex of his profession.
Unfortunately, fame did not sit easily on Lynch's frail shoulders and his battle with the bottle and his personal demons proved to be more difficult to overcome. Lynch regularly struggled to make the 112lb weight limit and lost his title on the scales in 1938, stripped for being an astonishing six-and-a-half pounds overweight for a defence against Jackie Jurich. He was knocked out for the only time by journeyman Aurel Toma in October of that year. Although he was only twenty-five, it was the final contest of Lynch's career. His alcoholism worsened and he died of pneumonia on 6 August 1946.