Tributes have poured in on social media after former professional boxer, Bradley Welsh, was shot in Edinburgh’s West End on Wednesday night.
Armed police were sent to Chester Street at 8pm on Wednesday night, they sealed off the street and told local resident, Alasdair Morton, that someone had suffered ‘a gunshot wound to the head’, Morton said via Twitter. The 48-year-old former ABA champion, charity worker and Trainspotting 2 star died at the scene.
The reformed football hooligan worked tirelessly in helping to run a foodbank via the Edinburgh Helping Hands organisation and also to bring football and boxing to young people in Edinburgh. Welsh owned and ran Holyrood Boxing Gym which welcomed hundreds of people every week.
Bradley Welsh claimed the ABA Lightweight championship in 1993, representing Edinburgh’s oldest boxing club, Leith Victoria. That title has traditionally been a gold-standard for British boxers and has been picked up by former world champions Anthony Crolla and Isaac Dogboe since. Welsh turned professional a year later, amassing a record of eight wins and one loss, stopping three of his opponents.
News of Welsh’s death has reverberated around the city and the extensive reach of his work in the community is being made increasingly apparent by the volume of tributes being expressed. Trainspotting author, and long-time friend, Irvine Welsh, tweeted: “Bradley John Welsh, my heart is broken. Goodbye amazing and beautiful friend. Thanks for making me a better person and helping me to see the world in a kinder and wiser way.”
Former Celtic and IBO Inter-Continental super lightweight champion, Jason Easton, was one of the first to express his shock and sadness, while former IBF European cruiserweight champ, Stephen Simmons described Welsh as “a true boxing man.”
Livingston welterweight, Thomas Dickson, also joined the flood of tributes, posting on Instagram: “Brad you were truly one in a million! The amount he did for the people and his town of Edinburgh is only something to be applauded and admired. Countless children helped either through boxing, football and his charity work. Someone I looked up to a lot and was lucky enough to be friends with and receive advice from both with boxing and just life, would genuinely have helped anyone.”
The Edinburgh man also holds a world record. The Guinness World Records certificate reads “The most consecutive boxing pad coaching rounds is 360 and was achieved by Bradley John Welsh (UK) in Edinburgh, UK, on 22-23 April 2014. The record was undertaken in order to fundraise for disabled Edinburgh Children and was depicted in the independent documentary film Tough Times.
Welsh is remembered as a valued community activist who outgrew his violent past and made a real difference in the city of Edinburgh. He was one of “Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men” in the series of the same name and talked at length about his criminal past and time in prison. It isn’t that that the people of Edinburgh will remember him for though, they will remember his daily work with children, the provision of free boxing classes to the unemployed, the operation of a community foodbank and countless other contributions.
The police have requested that anyone with any information regarding Bradley Welsh’s death please come forward and contact them.
Below are some more of the tributes offered by friends, boxers, celebrities and gym-goers:
You to me are treasure, you to me are dear. Our coach, our motivator but most importantly our friend, Brad Welsh. pic.twitter.com/mU1gUPhBnQ
— Leigh Mac (@LeighMac89) April 17, 2019
Devastated to hear the news that my good friend brad welsh life has been taken
The work brad was doing for his community was second to none.
Edirbugh has lost a true legend
My thoughts and prayers go out to brads family
Rest easy brother pic.twitter.com/GrHuSPPsls
— James English (@jamesenglish0) April 18, 2019
R.I.P Brad Welsh, a true man of the community bringing thousands upon thousands of those less fortunate in Edinburgh some joy in their lives. Never thinking about himself.
This world is very unfair at times. Sleep tight Brad pic.twitter.com/71cNPPEfo8
— Connaire Wallace (@wallace92hfc) April 18, 2019
I can’t believe the news I’ve just heard of Brad welsh! Absolutely heartbroken he was truest a gentleman and always looked after me before turning pro. Rest easy big guy @holyroodboxing
— Jason Easton (@JEastonn) April 17, 2019
Edinburgh has lost a son, and I have lost a true friend, Brad Welsh, You are a true hero and no one will ever come near to what you have given the young people of Edinburgh. My heart is in bits. RIP pal I will miss you so much. pic.twitter.com/KfqcUya6Eo
— Hit Me (@Hit_Me_Book) April 18, 2019