Johnny McGrory, boxer; born April 25, 1915, died September 5, 1998

JOHNNY McGrory, one of

Scotland's most skilful pre-Second World War boxing champions, died at his adopted home in Los Angeles, aged 83.

Born in Glasgow in 1915, McGrory was a contemporary of Gorbals-born world flyweight

legend Benny Lynch, with whom he had much in common in terms of boxing ability.

As an amateur, between 1930 and 1933, McGrory revealed the kind of skills that made one contemporary boxing critic dub the Glaswegian as the second ''Jim Driscoll'' - a huge compliment given that the Welsh featherweight world title holder Driscoll is still regarded as one of the finest boxers ever produced in the British Isles.

As his small number of knockouts reveals - seven knockouts in 102 professional contests between 1933 and 1943 - McGrory relied on supreme skills, based on the classic straight left and speed to capture ring victory.

Positive proof of McGrory's outstanding fighting abilities came from the quality of the opponent he had to beat to win the British featherweight title - Liverpool's Nelson ''Nel'' Tarleton, who won not one but two Lonsdale championship belts and is still acknowledged as one of the greats.

However, it was Glaswegian McGrory who emerged

victorious on Tarleton's own Liverpool home patch at Anfield Stadium in September 1936, where he brilliantly out-manoeuvred an acknowledged ringmaster at his own scientific game.

Johannesburg, South Africa, was a graveyard of dashed hopes for every Scottish champion who fought there after the Second World War, but not for smooth boxing stylist McGrory, who beat home town fighter Willie Smith for the British Empire title on points over 12 rounds on, ironically, Boxing Day, 1936. McGrory's South African Empire crown win made him seem a certainty to get a world title tilt against reigning world champion, Alabama-based Syrian-American Petey Sarron, but disaster struck in March 1937 when McGrory surprisingly lost by a seventh round knockout to Norwich banger Ginger Saad who fractured the Glaswegian's jaw.

Fortunately for McGrory, his British featherweight title was not on the line against Saad as the match was made at Catchweights.

Before this disaster McGrory had been a veritable hammer of the English, beating holders of British titles at various weights.

In this connection, McGrory beat Manchester bantamweight Johnny King, London lightweight Dave Crowley, Liverpool's Nel Tarleton and Scottish champions Johnny McMillan, Joe Connolly, Frank Markey, and Jim Cowie. Ironically, Johnny McGrory would lose his British title in an identical fashion to his great Glasgow pal Benny Lynch, who lost his world flyweight crown due to weight-making difficulties on the scales.

McGrory was contracted to defend his British crown at Shawfield Stadium against Londoner Benny Caplan, an opponent with whom he had previously drawn and lost.

However, champ McGrory caused a sensation when he unexpectedly came in several pounds over the featherweight nine stone limit.

Equally ironically, the 8000 spectators at Glasgow's Shawfield Stadium saw the deposed champion McGrory easily outbox Caplan only to be given a draw. However, the damage had been done as McGrory was now an ex-champion.

Although McGrory battled on in the ring until 1943 he was never quite as brilliant inside the ropes as he had been before, losing his title on the scales as he closed out the 1930s with knockout defeats to British lightweight champion Eric Boon and Welsh future British champion Ronnie James in 1938 and 1939.

A 1943 points defeat by England's Tommy Hyams convinced the former brilliant ring stylist that it was time to hang up his gloves.

After the Second World War Johnny McGrory emulated Dundee FC's Scottish football internationalist Billy Steel and emigrated to

California, joining Steel in Los Angeles. Johnny McGrory died in the City of Angels on September 5. He leaves a wife, two sons, and grand- and great-grandchildren.

Brian Donald