BBC boxing commentator Harry Carpenter dies aged 84

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The Independent Online

BBC boxing commentator Harry Carpenter has died, a spokesman for his family said today.

The 84-year-old former TV sports presenter died at King's College Hospital, London, on Saturday.

His lawyer David Wills said: "He had been unwell since last summer when he had a minor heart attack.

"The funeral has not been arranged but will be a family funeral, to be followed by a memorial service in London."

Mr Carpenter leaves a widow and one son.

Carpenter became closely identified with Frank Bruno, whose catchphrase "Know what I mean, 'arry?" featured in their post-fight interviews.

He worked as a sports reporter on national newspapers before joining the BBC and commentated on major sporting events including Wimbledon and the university boat race.

But it was as the public face - and voice - of the corporation's boxing coverage that he became best known.

Boxing promoter Frank Maloney said Carpenter was "the voice of boxing".

He said: "He was probably one of the greatest commentators of all time.

"His voice was so distinctive and I remember all those Ali fights and Bruno fights he commentated on.

"It's like a piece of boxing history has been taken away."

Bruno has yet to release a statement but is said to be "very upset and shocked" by the death of his friend.

A spokesman for the former WBC world champion said: "Frank was not aware of it. He is very upset and at the moment he does not want to give a statement, but has asked me to put some words out to say it was a real shock to him.

"He was obviously part of Frank's up and coming career from the early days when Harry used to commentate, particularly at the Royal Albert Hall, on Frank's boxing.

"Then they became a bit of a double act with the 'Know what I mean, Harry' thing. From there they went on to do appearances together almost like a little cabaret act.

"The most exciting time was probably the Tyson fight when even Harry Carpenter, who was quite a cool man, sort of lost his cool.

"Frank says he will be giving a statement but at the moment he is very upset and shocked by it."

Fellow boxing commentator and former world lightweight champion Jim Watt expressed his sadness at the news.

Watt told Sky Sports News: "Harry and I went way back.

"For many years Harry was the boxing voice of the BBC. He covered all my own world title fights and he commentated on me as an amateur - that's how long back we go.

"He was a real gentleman, a great operator. He was known mostly for his commentaries on boxing but he did various sports.

"I am really sorry to hear he has gone."

A spokesman for Bruno said he was upset and shocked by the news.

The former heavyweight champion's agent said he was "very upset" at the news.

He said: "When I told him, he said it was 'terrible, sad news'.

"Frank has many acquaintances but not many real friends. Harry Carpenter was a friend."