GUS MERCURIO: 1928-2010

boxingPhoto: Gus Mercurio referreing Michael-Ellis, Melbourne, 1985

By Tony Nobbs: Famed actor and boxing officiando GUS MERCURIO passed away Tuesday while undergoing surgery, aged 82. Gus, born in West Bend, Wisconsin, USA, was best known as an actor and father of Strickly Ballroom star Paul Mercurio but he was also a first class official working over twenty WBC and IBF world title bouts. He first visited Melbourne during the 1956 Olympics and fell in love with Australia and her people. He starred in Television series Cash & Company (1975) and Tandarra (1976) and guest roles in police series’ Homicide, Division 4 and Matlock Police. Film roles included The Blue Lagoon (1980), The Man from Snowy River (1982) and Crocodile Dundee 2 (1988).

As a boxing official he judged ex WBA/WBC bantamweight king Lionel Rose’s win over future WBC lightweight champ Guts Ishimatsu in 1970. Mercurio was third man when Barry Michael defeated Lester Ellis for the IBF super featherweight championship of the world in Melbourne in 1985 and judged Ellis’ title win over Hwan Kil Yuh the same year. He judged the 1990 WBC 130 pound title match between Hall Of Famer Azumah Nelson and Juan LaPorte in Sydney, NSW as well as fights in the US involving the likes of modern greats Pernell Whitaker and Roy Jones and other top liners such as German Torres, Terry Norris (against Aussie Troy Waters), Pongsaklek Wongjongkam and Australian golden girl Sharon Anyos. He was president of the Australian National Boxing Hall Of Fame until 2007 and was himself inducted in 2008. He was a great personality for the Australian fight game and will be sadly missed by many. He is survived by wife RIta and six children by two marriages.

Article posted on 08.12.2010

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