WILLIE LIMOND, the former British and Commonwealth super-lightweight champion, tragically passed away on Monday (April 15) at the age of 45.

Limond, from Glasgow, Scotland, had been preparing for a fight against Joe Laws on May 3 when, while driving, he suffered a suspected seizure in his car. Found unresponsive in the vehicle on April 6, he was subsequently taken to Monklands Hospital in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, where he remained in a comatose state.

Sadly, Limond, one of Britain’s toughest boxers, never woke up.

In a post on social media, Limond’s son Jake, also a pro boxer, said his “dad passed away in the early hours of the morning”. He added: “He fought on for near enough 10 days. Warrior.”

Limond was indeed that. A pro since 1999, he fought a total of 48 times and won on 42 occasions, competing at super-featherweight, lightweight, and super-lightweight. With solid fundamentals, and an effortless ability to glide in and out of range, he was a boxer to admire; a boxer easy on the eye. He was also tough, both physically and mentally, and often during fights the rugged Glaswegian in Limond would come out and interrupt spells of otherwise pretty boxing. This, for Limond, made some fights harder than they needed to be, but in turn made him a popular fighter in the eyes of anyone lucky enough to watch him.

After winning 18 bouts in a row to start his career, Limond’s first shot at the British title arrived at super-featherweight in 2003. That was the year he faced Alex Arthur, a fellow unbeaten Scot with all the fanfare Limond, at the time, lacked. He gave a good account of himself on the night, too, posing Arthur one or two problems before ultimately finding himself stopped in round eight.

From there, Limond used the defeat as a lesson and rebuilt. He won the European Union belt when beating Youssouf Djibaba the following year and then, in 2006, became Commonwealth lightweight champion by outpointing Joshua Allotey at Glasgow’s famous Kelvin Hall, a favourite venue of his.

This win led to a huge showdown against Amir Khan in 2007, for which Limond is probably best remembered. After all, it was that night, with so many people writing him off and so much hype surrounding Khan, Limond took the fight to the young Olympic silver medallist and caused him all manner of problems. Ignoring Khan’s 12-0 record, Limond set about him, hurting him to both the body and head, and even dropping him in round six. Khan, at that stage, appeared on the verge of being stopped, yet, to his credit, managed to turn the tables and in fact stop Limond after eight completed rounds.

“Everybody remembers me for that fight and sometimes it’s better to be remembered for something than not remembered at all,” Limond told me in 2022. “It didn’t go my way but these things happen. I don’t agree with how it went, but, hey, it’s 15 years ago now. He had his moments and I had mine. He took his and I never took mine. The guy was getting long counts and all sorts but Amir got up and did what I didn’t do. He finished the fight (Limond retired on his stool). I couldn’t do that. Fair play.”

Undeterred, Limond again bounced back, winning his next five fights before landing a massive opportunity against another famous fighter, Mexico’s Erik Morales, in 2010. If fighting a legend like Morales wasn’t enough, Limond was booked to do so in Mexico City.

“It was brilliant,” Limond recalled. “There were 56,000 people at the Plaza de Toros, the bullring. It was f**king unbelievable. The atmosphere was surreal. I wish I took my time to take it in.

“I did well in the fight. I was ahead after four rounds but came back after the fourth and my legs felt so heavy. It was the altitude. I couldn’t move or breathe. The best way to describe it is like being in a sauna with a sweatsuit on trying to breathe through a straw. Erik then started coming on strong and that was that.”

As for Limond’s pro career, that continued despite the Morales loss. In 2011, a year after his trip to Mexico, Limond would lose again, this time against Anthony Crolla, but then, in 2013, came a resurgence of sorts, with Limond stopping the unbeaten Eddie Coyle inside a round to win the Commonwealth super-lightweight title; a belt he next defended over 12 rounds against Mitch Prince. This set up a big domestic clash the following year with Curtis Woodhouse, who brought with him the British super-lightweight title. This was also a fight Limond dominated, showing his class throughout and dropping Woodhouse twice, once in round three and again in round 11.

After retiring for good, it seemed, in 2016, Limond, now in his forties, was enticed back to the ring in 2019 and again in 2022. Before that second return, Limond said to Boxing News: “It’s more than likely this will be the last one. I last fought three years ago and haven’t done a lot of training since. The last 12 weeks have been good for me. They’ve allowed me to get back in shape. I’ve missed the training and I’ve missed training for something. If something good gets offered to me after this fight, that could change my mind. But, right now, this is my last fight.”

The idea was to box on the same bill as his 18-year-old son, Jake, who would have his second pro fight the same night. “I know Lee Haskins fought on the same show as his boy in Bristol,” said Willie, “but I don’t think it’s ever been done in Scotland, so it will be good to be the first guys to do that.”

There were no plans for fights beyond that, yet still Willie continued. After beating CJ Wood over four rounds, and sharing the bill with his son in Renfrew, he fought Ricky Burns, another popular Scotsman flitting in and out of retirement, in 2023. This fight ended with Limond getting stopped in eight rounds, only the result, rather than lead to retirement, became Willie’s impetus to fight again, this time against Laws, in May.

That, for reasons unbearably tragic, will now not happen. So we must instead try to remember Willie Limond the way he would want to be remembered and the way he deserves to be remembered. He will be dearly missed.

Ricky Burns with Willie Limond