Long-serving Sky Sports boxing commentator and former WBC lightweight world champion Jim Watt has announced his retirement from broadcasting after almost 40 years.
Regarded as one of the most respected and recognised voices in the sport, Watt was one of Scotland’s most decorated and successful boxers before he moved into his role of ringside co-commentator.
After turning professional in 1968, the Glasgow native became British lightweight champion in 1972 and 1975 before winning the WBC lightweight title in 1979.
He went on to win 38 of his 46 fights, 27 by knockout, and subsequently received an MBE for his services to sport.
Whilst still active as a professional fighter, Watt was taken on as a commentator by ITV, where he became a regular partner to the late Reg Gutteridge.
He continued working for ITV after he retired from boxing in 1981, covering many classic title fights during the 1980s and early 1990s for the channel, including Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn, Frank Bruno and Prince Naseem Hamed, before moving to Sky Sports in 1996.
Working alongside Ian Darke and latterly Nick Halling, Jim was behind the Sky Sports microphone for 20 years describing the feats of superstar names including Floyd Mayweather, Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao, as well as the successes of home-grown legends such as Ricky Hatton, Carl Froch and new heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua.
Speaking about his decision to retire from broadcasting, Watt told Sky Sports: “I’ve had the best job in the world and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, but now is the right time for me to retire.
“I have so many great memories. Being at Wembley with 80,000 fans for the rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves was special.
“Watching Ricky Hatton defeat Kostya Tszyu in front of his home crowd in Manchester is another night I’ll never forget.
“It’s always nice when an underdog turns the tables and Ricky did that in dramatic fashion.
“I’m looking forward to watching many more great nights of boxing on Sky Sports, but now as a viewer!“
Head of Sky Sports boxing Adam Smith, who also partnered Watt as a commentator, said: “His achievements as a professional boxer already made him a legend but 40 years ago Jim helped pioneer a new co-commentator role which saw a world-class athlete also providing incredible analysis.
“It’s his vast experience as a fighter and champion that made him an incredible commentator as well.
“I feel hugely privileged to have joined Jim for so many commentaries – he taught me so much. His voice, analysis and consummate professionalism have helped light up so many of boxing’s most memorable moments.
“It’s been an honour to work with him and everyone on the boxing team at Sky Sports joins me in wishing him all the very best for his retirement.“
Barney Francis, Managing Director of Sky Sports, added: “Like so many of us I have enjoyed listening to Jim provide commentary and analysis to some of boxing’s biggest moments over the last 30 years.
“His insight has taken viewers into the ring, informing and entertaining boxing fans. We thank him for everything he has done and wish him well for his retirement.“
Happy retirement to my old pal and ringside partner Jim Watt. Classy , sharp, witty, and can even do magic tricks! Ask MGM in Vegas.
— Ian Darke (@IanDarke) July 22, 2016
Jim Watt is a gentleman and a friend. I am proud to have worked alongside him. Now he retires to hopefully find happiness with Maggs
— John Rawling (@JohnRawling) July 22, 2016
Jim Watt's distinguished fighting career was before my time but he became a hero to me as I worked alongside him. Absolute gentleman, legend
— Edwin Robinson (@Skyedrobinson) July 22, 2016
— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) July 22, 2016
— Dave Coldwell (@davidcoldwell) July 22, 2016