Gutteridge, legendary voice of boxing, dies

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The Independent Online

Reg Gutteridge, the legendary boxing commentator and journalist, has died after a short illness, his family said yesterday. He was 84.

An amateur boxer as a youngster, Gutteridge turned to journalism after losing a leg when he stepped on a mine in Normandy during the Second World War. He worked for the [London] Evening News as its boxing correspondent for 40 years. But he made his name as ITV's voice of boxing, later forming a commentating partnership with the former world lightweight champion Jim Watt. The pair subsequently moved to Sky.

The London-born Gutteridge was honoured with an OBE in 1995. Gutteridge also covered six Olympic Games and commentated on sports as diverse as greyhound racing and tug of war while working on the Saturday show World of Sport.

Such was his popularity within boxing that he struck up friendships with many fighters. During the 1980s, when he was ill in hospital, Muhammad Ali was among the visitors. In 2002 he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Gutteridge, who lived in Barnet, north London, leaves a wife, daughter and four grandsons. His daughter Sally said: "He was a much loved husband, father and grandfather. He touched many lives."

The Sports Minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, paid tribute to Gutteridge, saying: ''Reg Gutteridge was an outstanding commentator and observer of boxing, in print and on television.

''His distinctive voice, knowledge of the sport's greats, insights from decades reporting it and partnership with Jim Watt brought boxing to life for so many viewers.

''Just two weeks ago we mourned the death of the BBC's David Vine. With Reg's passing, we have lost another figure so familiar from our TV screens – a real broadcasting great.''