Kirkland Laing, the British boxing champion whose career spiraled into drink and drugs
after beating the great Roberto Duran in 1982, dies aged 66 – seven years after he was
critically injured falling from a balcony in Hackney
The troubled fighter retired from boxing in 1994 after securing 43 victories – including
a historic win against US champion Roberto Duran.
Welterweight Laing fought 56 times in his career from 1975 to 1994 with most of his
fights in the United Kingdom. He also boxed in the United States, Australia, and Italy
and won the British and European belts.
The best night of his career came when he beat Duran in Detroit in 1982.
His shock win was voted Upset of the Year by Ring Magazine.
Duran was an overwhelming favorite having beaten Sugar Ray Leonard two years earlier
and banked $5million from their rematch that followed.
Promoter Frank Warren led the tributes to the boxing great as the heartbreaking news of
his death spread online.
He wrote on Twitter: “All at Queensberry are very sad to hear news of the passing of
former British & European Welterweight Champion Kirkland Laing.
“Our thoughts are with Kirkland’s family at this time. RIP Champ.”
Boxing commentator Steve Bunce added: “A great, great man and fighter a long time ago
talking about his glories in the ring. It’s Kirkland Laing.”
RIP Kirkland Laing🙏🏻🥊
— Matthew Macklin (@mattmacklin) June 9, 2021
Ah, this is sad to hear, fell on seriously hard times and pretty much forgotten about but
anybody who knows boxing knows this man’s name. Rest in power champion ❤️
— Curtis Woodhouse BEM (@curtiswoodhous8) June 9, 2021
Kirkland Laing along with Nigel Benn and Lloyd Honeyghan.
My favorite British boxers 🇬🇧
RIP to a great fighter. Super talented.
— Ashley Theophane (@AshleyTheophane) June 9, 2021
I remember seeing Kirkland Laing at St Pancras gym training alone as no one wanted to
spar with him as he was just too good. RIP- gone way too soon 🙏🏽
— Kalle & Nisse Sauerland (@SauerlandBros) June 9, 2021