UK

Former British champion boxer Limond described as ‘legend’ following death at 45

Willie Limond took up boxing aged six and was preparing for a match on May 3 when he fell ill.

Willie Limond won 42 of his 48 fights
Willie Limond won 42 of his 48 fights (Danny Lawson/PA)

Former British and Commonwealth boxing champion Willie Limond has been described as “a legend of the sport” following his death aged 45.

The boxer died nine days after he was found in an unresponsive state in a car in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, on April 6, amid preparations for a fight.

The father-of-three, who grew up in Garthamlock in Glasgow’s East End, was also described as “an infectious character”.

He took up the sport at the age of six, and fought a “life-changing” high-profile fight with Amir Khan in London in 2007, which he lost.

Limond made his professional boxing debut in 1999 and won 42 of his 48 fights, and raised two sons who are also boxers.

Willie Limond celebrates beating Curtis Woodhouse during a bout at the Braehead Arena, Glasgow
Willie Limond celebrates beating Curtis Woodhouse during a bout at the Braehead Arena, Glasgow (Danny Lawson/PA)

In a interview, Limond said that he asked Khan for a rematch when their paths crossed nearly a decade later.

He told the Sunday Mail: “If I’d won that fight, I could have probably moved out of Garthamlock. But I wouldn’t have. I’m born and bred here. It didn’t go my way and I’ve had to live with it.”

Limond was due to take on Joe Laws at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena on May 3 in a show organised by the St Andrew’s club with his son, unbeaten professional Jake Limond, 20, on the undercard. Another son, Drew Limond, is an amateur boxer who has fought for Scotland.

The comeback fight was the first clash scheduled since September 2023, after Limond was stopped by Ricky Burns in the former world champion’s farewell bout.

Former Albion Rovers player Limond reportedly suffered a seizure and died on Monday in Monklands Hospital, Ayrshire, prompting tributes from ex-opponents.

Laws wrote on social media that he was “absolutely devastated”, while former world champion Anthony Crolla described him as “one of the best men I ever met”.

Tyrone Nurse (left) and Willie Limond during the British super-lightweight championship bout at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Tyrone Nurse (left) and Willie Limond during the British super-lightweight championship bout at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow (Danny Lawson/PA)

A statement from Limond’s boxing club read: “Everyone at St Andrew’s Sporting Club are shocked and deeply saddened at the loss of our friend, Willie Limond.

“Willie was not only a legend of the sport, but an infectious character who will be greatly missed by us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jake, Drew, Macy and the rest of the Limond family at this time.”

Limond defended the belt against unbeaten opponent Khan in 2007, but was denied what he felt was a knockout by a significant delay before the eight-second count, and was forced to retire in the fight due to a broken jaw before the start of the ninth round.

He described the referee’s decision as “life-changing”, and later said: “I’ve boxed since I was six and that should have been the moment where everything came to fruition. That’s when I should have ‘made it’.”

In 2010 he fought four-weight world champion Erik Morales in a World Boxing Union title fight in Mexico, going down three times in the sixth round.

Limond lost to Crolla on points in his next British title fight at super-lightweight level before three successful Commonwealth title fights, the latter securing him the British title with victory over Curtis Woodhouse in 2014.

Crolla posted a “heartbroken” emoji on X along with a recent photo of himself and Limond and wrote: “Not just in boxing but in life as well. One of the best men I ever met.”

Woodhouse wrote on the social media platform: “Absolutely devastated to hear the news of the passing of Willie Limond, a great fighter and a great man.

“We stayed in touch after our fight and always had a laugh together. Absolutely gutted. Rest In Peace champ.”

Former world champion Scott Harrison wrote: “Sad news to hear that my old pal and Scottish Boxing Legend Willie Limond has passed away thoughts and prayers are with his Family God Bless RIP Willie.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 8.05am on Saturday April 6 2024, police were called to a report of a 45-year-old man found unresponsive within a car in Heatherbell Road, Coatbridge.

“The man was taken to Monklands Hospital where he died on Monday April 15 2024.

“There are no suspicious circumstances and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”