In boxing an entire career can be captured in one fight or round, at times, in a single punch. For Scottish heavyweight Terry Feeley, this defining moment arrived in the closing seconds of his professional career on November 19, 1973.

“He broke his ankle in his last fight in the Albany Hotel in Glasgow against Ralph Green,” recalls boxing promoter Alex Morrison, who counted Feeley as an opponent and close friend. “His ankle went underneath him but he refused to give up, he got back up and knocked the guy out.”

This relentless, rugged style and a 52% knock out rate in 12 professional wins between 1967 and 1973, cemented Feeley’s reputation in a Scottish fight scene where he stood as something of an anomaly.

Glasgow’s pro’ gyms have long been the domain of the hardy wee man, of flys and feathers. A light-heavyweight as an amateur, Feeley cast an ominous shadow in the gym. All 21 of his pro bouts would take place in the heavyweight division.

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Born on July 14 1945, Terence Feeley grew up just outside of Glasgow in Milngavie with his brother John and sisters Kathleen and Margaret. He attended St Joseph’s Primary School in the village, before boarding the bus for nearby Kirkintilloch and St Ninian’s High.

He would go on to train as a heating engineer but was a natural athlete, one who relished the long runs in ‘tackety boots’ that many pro-fighters dread.

As an aspiring pro’ he began racking up amateur gongs, a Scottish title, a Western and District title. It was at this time that Morrison first met Feeley in the ring beneath the lights at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall.

“He was rough and he could punch,” says Morrison. “He was a good operator, was supremely fit and trained every day of his life, but he never took the time to be skilled. He just wanted to knock everyone out. He had too much heart. He just kept going and didn’t pay attention to defence. He just wanted to win. And that made Terry popular.”

HeraldScotland: Joe Bugner (left) in fought Frank Bruno in October 1987

This popularity, combined with a paucity of natural heavyweights in Scotland, saw Feeley move south to start his professional career, signing for Beryl Gibbons, the trailblazing female promoter in London.

It was here Feeley would face another problem, one which, combined with an abundance of heart would prove particularly dangerous. Too big to fight at light heavyweight, today Terry should have been a natural cruiserweight, breezing through every weigh in. Unfortunately, that division was not introduced until 1979, six years after his retirement, and he was now in a land of giants, one with an abundance of talented big men.

Over the next six years he proved game and utterly fearless, however the size differential cannot be understated and his record would include nine losses all against larger opponents. One defeat to Joe Bugner (pictured above against Frank Bruno), Mohammad Ali’s old foe, beautifully illustrates the point. The Australian walked in at around 18-stone at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Terry topped the scales at just over 13.

He was a popular figure in London’s bustling boxing scene, counting the late Barbara Windsor among his friends and, unusually for a Scottish fighter, he didn’t fight on home soil until his 12th bout in 1968 – a fourth round KO win over Obe Hepburn in Hamilton.

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He would only fight three times in Scotland, knocking out Dave Parris (who went on to become a famous boxing referee and judge) at Govan Town Hall in 1971 and his final, all-or-nothing pitch, thrown through the pain of a broken ankle, to flatten Ralph Green two years later.

On his retirement he returned to Glasgow and opened several businesses, including a clothes shop ‘Beau Brummell’ and the Terminal 1 and Zhivagos nightclubs on St Enoch Square.  He also met and married his wife of 47 years, Eva.

The couple started their married life on a farm in Glenboig where he could enjoy his love of horses and fittingly breed the gentle giant, Clydesdale. Their family grew to include sons John and Martin, daughter, Frances, and four grandchildren. The family eventually moved in 1990 to the area where Terry grew up, settling and remaining in Bearsden.

After retiring from the ring he played rugby at West of Scotland Rugby Club a game he loved. Golf also became a great passion and his powerful shots helped him to a hole in one at Denty Den par 4 at Gleneagles. Running was always a joy with a best marathon time of 3 hours 3 mins when he was 40 and he was a dedicated fundraiser on his runs, raising thousands for Motor Neuron Disease research.

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Changes of career path followed, with Feeley becoming a transport manager with Lafferty Builders for several years. He moved into property development and what would become a successful business partnership and friendship with John Logan that would span over 30 years.

Terry was also a familiar face at boxing events in Glasgow, known for his sense of humour and a multitude of practical jokes, which included smuggling in a peashooter on fight night. A well-aimed shot would suddenly ring an early bell and have Terry roaring as fighters, referees and cornermen scrambled.

He would face one final fight with a diagnosis of dementia in 2009. In prime physical fitness, the news shocked his friends and family. He would battle the disease for 14 years until his sudden passing on February 11 2023, receiving excellent care from the staff at Gartnavel Royal Hospital then Almond Court in Drumchapel in his final years.

A ten-bell salute will sound for Terry at boxing events in Scotland this year, the community rarely forgetting its fallen warriors. Fight fans will remember him for his heart, fire and bravery, while old friends in the crowd will half-expect the sudden whizz of a pea-shot and the bell to ring eleven.

Terence Feeley

July 14 1945 - February 11 2023