Walter McGowan was a world champion boxer. He was noted for his brilliant footwork in the ring. McGowan won the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) flyweight title in 1961 and became British and Commonwealth flyweight champion by beating Jackie Brown in Paisley on 2 May 1963, aged 20. He became world flyweight champion in June 1966 with a victory over Salvatore Burruni at the Empire Pool in London. He moved up a fighting weight and in September 1966, defeated Alan Rudkin for the British and Commonwealth bantamweight title.