It's been a knockout! Boxing club is sold

THE bell has sounded on an era at a Scottish sporting institution.

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Tommy Gilmour has sold the famous St Andrew's Sporting Club
Tommy Gilmour has sold the famous St Andrew's Sporting Club

Tommy Gilmour, boxing promoter and manager, has sold the St Andrew's Sporting Club, but the business heavyweight has not thrown in the towel.

Businessman Ian Wilson and boxing trainer Colin Belshaw are now at the helm of the 41-year-old club but Tommy has been named president of the institution that has kept boxing punching above its weight in Scotland.

The ambitious new boys have plans to update the club up to date but are determined to maintain the traditions that helped bring the private members' club such success.

The St Andrew's Club was launched in 1973, with a stellar bout between Ken Buchanan and Jim Watt, both world champions, and Gilmour has ushered a line of Scottish greats through the ropes at his promotions.

The club has witnessed the birth of great talents in Paul Weir, Pat Clinton, Stevie Boyle and Scott Harrison, and Tommy is determined that this march of champions will not be halted.

He said: "It was not about selling a business. It was a sort of passing on a family, and it was very difficult to find new parents.

"I was only a custodian of the club.

"I have been 27 years in an institution and I deserve a day off.''

Tommy's passion for the fight game is matched by that of the new owners.

His career in boxing can be traced back to his father Tommy Snr, a trainer, manager and matchmaker.

Tommy Junior carried the ring numbers during a Sonny Liston fight, met Muhammad Ali and then went on to manage world champions.

His passion for boxing has been total, energised by such nights as watching his protege Pat Clinton winning a world title or taking the doors off the conference hall of the then Albany Hotel so he could squeeze more punters for a Stevie Boyle fight.

But Jim Watt, one-time world light-weight champion and now celebrated pundit, believes Tommy's real legacy is the gratitude of generations of Scottish fighters.

Once boxers had to travel outside the country to make their money, where they were condemned to tough fights and harder decisions.

Jim had been the victim of judges preferring the hometown boy and is grateful that Tommy provided a venue that ensured he enjoyed the support of a home crowd.

He said: "A club surviving for 41 years is an achievement, but a club thriving for 41 years is amazing. The standards have never dipped.

"This club was a Godsend for Scottish fighters."

Jim said the club had come "to his rescue" when it staged his rematch with Andre Holyk of France.

Jim won and he pointed out this was one of the most crucial steps towards his eventual world title.

He said of the club: "It is the most important institution Scottish boxing has ever had.

"A lot of promoters play at it but Tommy has given his life to boxing. He does the best for his fighters."

The former helmsman of the St Andrew's Club will still help steer its future and he has a dream that it might come back into a Gilmour clinch.

He said: "I was 35 when I bought the club and Ian is 35 now.

"But my grandson Max is only eight, so it would be nice, in 27 years, if he could take over."

Tommy's daughter, Stephanie, is central to the success of the club and will continue to help the new owners. The story of the Club continues, with Gilmours in the past, present and future.

Tommy, the undisputed champion of the interests of Scottish boxing, will continue to come out swinging.

Sport

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