Sunday, July 17, 2016

On This Day: John McCluskey: British Flyweight Champion Remembered

By Peter Silkov

John McCluskey was a quick and skilful flyweight, who could also mix it up when he needed to do so.  During a ten year career, McCluskey was one of the best flyweights in Europe from the late 60s to the mid 70s, but never managed to secure a world title shot.

Born on January 23, 1944, in Hamilton, Scotland, McCluskey began his professional career in 1965, at the age of 21.  Throughout his career McCluskey was well traveled, fighting in England, Sweden, Italy, South Africa, America, Switzerland, Australia, Zambia, Wales and his native Scotland.

In just his 8th professional fight, on January 16, 1967, McCluskey won the vacant British Flyweight title, when he knocked out Tony Barlow in the 8th round.  McCluskey would hold the British title until his retirement in 1976.

McCluskey tried 4 times to win the Europeon flyweight championship, but was beaten each time.  Fernando Atzori knocked him out in the 4th round on June 26, 1968, then out-pointed over 15 rounds by Franco Zurlo on April 4, 1970.  In his third try for the European title on March 19, 1971, McCluskey was out-pointed by Fernando Atzori, after a hard fought battle, which many thought he had won. In a 4th and last bit to win this title, McCluskey fought Fritz Chervet on December 26, 1972, and was beaten on points.

McCluskey did win the Commonwealth Flyweight title, out-pointing Harry Hayes In Melbourne, Australia, on June 16, 1970.  McCluskey held the Commonwealth title till August 5, 1971, when Henry Nissen stopped him on cuts in the 8th round.  

John McCluskey had his final fight on December 4, 1975, when Wayne Evans surprisingly stopped him in the 1st round.  He retired with a final record of 23(10koes)-15. 

John McCluskey died on July 17, 2015, at the age of 71.

Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to

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