Scottish heavyweight title returns for the first time in 71 years
The Scottish Heavyweight Championship was last contested in 1951: George VI was King; Ezzard Charles was World Heavyweight Champion; Nat King Cole had the hit Too Young; Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh lit up the big screen in A Streetcar Named Desire; Tottenham Hotspur were Football League Champions and the Video Tape Recorder was invented.
Now, 71 years later, the ‘vacant’ tag will be removed from the title when Glasgow giants Nick ‘The Glasgow Warrior’ Campbell (4-0-0, 4 KO’s) and Jay ‘The Ghost’ McFarlane (12-5-0, 5 KO’s) collide for the Caledonian mantle on the undercard of the massive Unified World Super-Lightweight title clash between Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall on Saturday 26th February, promoted by BOXXER and Top Rank, at the OVO Hydro, Glasgow, live and exclusive on Sky Sports.
When Glasgow rivals George Stern and Hugh McDonald challenged for the title at the Recreation Ground in Alloa on 22 June 1951, Hibernian FC won the Scottish Division A title; future prime minister Gordon Brown was born and boxing legend-to-be Ken Buchanan was just six years old.
Stern came out the victor that night winning in the seventh round after McDonald was disqualified for a low blow, but Campbell and McFarlane are both promising to deliver a more conclusive ending in their fight.
Campbell, a former professional rugby player with the Glasgow Warriors and Jersey Reds, has raced to a perfect unbeaten four fights winning all by KO in just eight rounds of action. The 6ft 7in giant, is also on a mission to become the first ever Scot to win the British Heavyweight title.
“This is a massive fight card and brilliant opportunity to shine in my home city and live on Sky Sports. I’m shocked that the title hasn’t been contested for so long but it will be firmly around my waist come the end of the fight,” said Campbell.
“McFarlane’s a tough guy, but he’s just another guy standing in the way of my goal and what I want to achieve in the sport. I aim to put on a thorough professional performance and get that stoppage. The British title is my aspiration, one step at a time though, McFarlane is my first stop to get the Scottish title.”
McFarlane has experienced plenty of life’s ups and downs in his 23 years, but the larger-than-life character sees this as another step towards his dream of becoming a champion. When he was 10 he spent time in a Caribbean orphanage with his brother following a holiday where his parents were arrested for drug smuggling.
He was living in temporary accommodation when he signed his first pro contract and after just two wins he was given a slot on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin v Daniel Jacobs at the iconic Madison Square Garden and was then back in his ‘scatter flat’.
“Campbell can’t beat me, when my head is straight, the only person who can beat me is me. He might be 6ft 7in and a monster but everyone is the same height when they’re lying down. It doesn’t make a difference to me, I’ve the experience and power over him and this is a golden opportunity for me to get me where I want to be,” said McFarlane.
“This is the fight of my life, winning the Scottish Heavyweight title for me will be bigger than Andy Murray winning Wimbledon. I’ve had to contend with a lot in life but boxing has been my saviour and I want to make history in a sport that’s done good for me.”
BOXXER talent featuring on the card begins with BOXXER Series Super-Lightweight tournament winner Cori Gibbs (16-0-0, 3 KO’s) who saw off three former champions – Tom Farrell, Lee Appleyard and Sean Dodd – in one November night to take the grand prize.
In Glasgow, the undefeated Birmingham hot-shot will commence his new long-term promotional deal with BOXXER in an eight-round contest as he looks to capitalise on his sensational tournament victory and push on towards championship titles.
Rising female star Ebonie Jones (1-0-0) has her second pro fight against Glenrothes’ Effy Kathopouli over six rounds at super-bantamweight. Portsmouth’s Jones, a former Team GB standout amateur and British Army soldier, made her pro debut last October with a points win over Vaida Masiokaite.
Edinburgh cruiserweight ace Scott Forrest, a longtime sparring partner of former World Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua, sets out on his professional journey when he makes his pro debut in a six-round contest. Born in South Africa, Forrest relocated to Forth near Lanark as a five-year-old. He competed at the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games, where he faced some of the world’s best boxers.
Top Rank talent featuring on the card sees the exciting prospect Robeisy Ramirez (8-1-0, 4 KO’s) make his UK debut when he faces tough Irishman Eric Donovan (14-1-0, 8) in a ten-round featherweight contest.
The highly skilled southpaw is a Cuban prodigy whose exceptional talent earned him gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. He holds amateur victories over current WBO World Super-Featherweight Champion Shakur Stevenson and WBA Interim World Champion Michael Conlan.
Red hot Irish welterweight prospect Paddy ‘The Real Deal’ Donovan (7-0-0, 5 KO’s) looks to maintain his unbeaten record when he features in a six-round contest. The 23-year-old southpaw from Limerick has looked sensational so far. In his last fight, he destroyed Argentina’s Jose Luis Castillo inside one round.
Making his highly anticipated pro debut in the featherweight division will be amateur star Kurt Walker from Lisburn. Walker won bronze in the 2017 European Championships, silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and gold at both the 2018 EU Championships and 2019 European Games. Walker was just one victory short of a medal in Tokyo after defeating world champion Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov.
Another sensational amateur talent making his pro debut will be the Three-Time National Elite Champion and 2018 EU Championships Bronze Medallist Kieran Molloy from Galway, Ireland, who features in a six-round super-welterweight contest to open his account. Malloy is trained by renowned coach Angel Fernandez.
Finally completing the card will be up-and-coming Coatbridge featherweight prospect Mark McKeown (5-0-0, 2 KO’s) and Glasgow super-lightweight Craig McIntyre (12-0-1, 5 KO’s).