Boxing


R.I.P Gary Mason, Former British Heavyweight Champion

By James Slater - In sad news, it has been reported that Gary Mason, the popular former British heavyweight champion, has been killed in a cycling accident. According to reports, the 48-year-old who quit the ring in 1994 was hit by a van and died instantly yesterday morning. The driver of the van, who has not been named, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving.

Our condolences go out to Mason’s family and friends..

A gentle giant out side of the ring, Mason was a physically strong heavyweight who could punch. Turning pro with a 1st-round KO of Al Malcolm in October of ‘84, the Jamaican-born, approx 240-pounder soon got noticed on the British scene. Romping to a straight 28 wins, all but one of them coming via KO, Mason won the vacant British title with a 4th-round stoppage of the useful Hughroy Currie in January of 1989. Now up there with the even more popular Frank Bruno when it came to being able to make a claim as being the best British heavyweight, the 27-year-old got busy defending his title as well as taking on good American opposition.

Mason flattened Jess Harding in frightening fashion to defend his British belt and then, in his next fight of 1989, he stepped up in quality to take out the still-useful Tyrell Biggs in the 7th-round for a very important win. Now world ranked, Mason took care of a few more U.S imports; such as Mark Wills, “Big Foot” Martin and James Pritchard. Then, in March of ’91, Mason had the fight he is most famous for.

Challenging for the European title against Lennox Lewis, in a fight that also had Mason’s British title on the line, Gary was stopped in the 7th-round due to a horrifically swollen and badly battered eye. Mason, who really showed courage against the future heavyweight world champion, had suffered eye damage in a previous fight (the one with Martin) and the detached retina saw his dream of becoming European champ come to a painful end.

It was assumed fans had seen the last of Mason after the Lewis loss (the first and only defeat of his entire pro career), but Mason, at the age of 32, made a short-lived comeback in early 1994. Weighing a good deal more than he had done earlier, but looking fluid and relaxed nonetheless, Mason banged out a couple of journeymen whilst boxing in America.

At one point on his career, Mason was being looked at by the likes of George Foreman and even Mike Tyson. Sadly for Gary, neither big fight took place. The all-British showdown with Lewis was the farthest Mason got on the world stage, and he quit the ring, still plagued by eye trouble, in late 1994.

Sporting a fine 37-1(34) record, Gary went on to become a successful T.V pundit, working for a long time on Sky Sports.

All those people who knew Mason liked him and he will be sadly missed by the likes of Bruno, Frank Warren, Des Lynam and many others.

Gary Mason: 1962-2011.

Article posted on 07.01.2011



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