BOXING promoter Alex Morrison has led tributes to former world champion Walter McGowan following his death, aged 73.

The Lanarkshire fighter won the Scottish, British, European and Empire titles before defeating Italy's Salvatore Burruni at Wembley over 15 rounds to land the world flyweight title in 1966,.

McGowan, who also became the first Scots boxer honoured by the Queen – with an MBE – for his world title win, died peacefully at Monklands Hospital on Monday night.

McGowan had been in poor health in recent years and was living in a nursing home in Bellshill.

One of the greatest - The Herald's obituary

Mr Morrison, who revealed the news in a tribute on his Facebook page said: "Walter had it all,good looks,articulate,witty and had great boxing skills.He will be remembered as an all time Scottish great and an amazing character who had time for everyone."

SNP MSP James Dornan also paid tribute, describing McGowan along with Dundee-born lightweight boxer Dick McTaggart as "the face of Scottish boxing of my youth."

In all, McGowan, from Burnbank, Hamilton, won 32 of his 40 professional fights before retiring in 1969.

McGowan later recounted, his world championship was partly down to a huge contingent of travelling fans at the Empire Pool, London.

Thousands more watched live closed-circuit screenings in Lanarkshire and Glasgow cinemas. McGowan beat the Italian in 15 rounds before a 7000 crowd.

In McGowan's next fight, he won the British and Empire title at bantamweight when he defeated Alan Rudkin, again at Wembley.

He lost only twice in 124 amateur contests. When he lost the world crown in 1966, to Chartchai Chinoi of Thailand, it was on a cut. He was ahead on points.

He escaped punishment for domestic abuse in a court case over a decade ago when it was stated that he was unlikely ever to leave the home where he is reportedly suffering from dementia.

An elder sister has told the BBC the boxer would be greatly missed.

She said: "He's the reason my daughter is called Victoria. I was expecting a baby at much the same time as his world title fight against Burruni.

"He kept patting my stomach and saying, 'Hi Vic'. I told him, 'If it's a girl, and if you win the world title and if our mother recovers from cancer, then I'll call the baby Victoria.'

"He said, 'What do you mean if? He was so confident he would win. Well, of course he won, and my daughter, Victoria, was born the following week."

He is survived by a son and daughter and a grandson and grand-daughter.