The worlds of journalism and sport have united to pay tribute to the acclaimed boxing writer Ron Lewis, who has died suddenly at the age of 54.
Lewis, who worked primarily for the Times during his two decades in the UK national media, was known for his encyclopaedic knowledge of the fight game, his deep contacts book and his gentle kindness. His death, by cardiac arrest on Friday, was marked by an enormous outpouring of love for a man known affectionately as Big Ron.
The former WBO world champion, Liam Smith, was among those who sent his condolences, calling Lewis a “proper gentleman”, and admitting he was “absolutely gutted”.
That sentiment was echoed by the former Olympic super-heavyweight champion Audley Harrison, as well as the fight promoter Frank Warren, who said: “Ron was a boxing man through and through and he will be sorely missed – our thoughts and sincere condolences go to his wife and two young children for their sad loss.”
Another promoter, Eddie Hearn, also paid tribute, calling Lewis “a very nice man who will be deeply missed”.
Lewis started his journalism career at the Hounslow Chronicle in the late 1990s before working weekend shifts as a subeditor at the Guardian and the Daily Mail. That helped earn him his break at the Times, where he worked as a sports writer for 17 years, covering three Olympic Games, two World Athletics Championships, and numerous big fights in Las Vegas along the way.
His versatility was such that he was also sent to cover Premier League matches, Royal Ascot and Wimbledon, while his personality – and willingness to always help colleagues with lifts, contacts, or the benefit of his wisdom – ensured he made lasting friendships in the industry that continued after he went freelance in 2019.
I am sorry to announce the death of my husband Ron. He passed away this morning at the age of 54. It was a complete shock. It’s wonderful reading all your messages and memories of him as his phone keep pinging. Thank you everyone who was a part of his life. pic.twitter.com/H2aJuZMO04— Ron Lewis (@RonLewis_) February 10, 2023
I am sorry to announce the death of my husband Ron. He passed away this morning at the age of 54. It was a complete shock. It’s wonderful reading all your messages and memories of him as his phone keep pinging. Thank you everyone who was a part of his life. pic.twitter.com/H2aJuZMO04
— Ron Lewis (@RonLewis_) February 10, 2023
The Times’ senior sports writer, Matt Dickinson, wrote: “So very sorry to hear the news. Been reflecting all evening on many memories – breakfast in Vegas, swimming and even salsa dancing in Rio, mostly bemoaning QPR. Thoughts with Ron and all his family.”
The news was announced on Twitter by Lewis’s wife Ellie, who said: “It was a complete shock. It’s wonderful reading all your messages and memories of him as his phone keeps pinging. Thank you to everyone who was a part of his life.”
Dozens of other journalists responded with their memories of Lewis, who was also a talented swimmer and enjoyed visiting horse racing tracks wherever he was sent.
They included the Sky journalist Martha Kelner, who wrote: “Ron was such a kind, gentle man. He was so proud of his kids. I fondly remember him showing us pictures of them and telling us about all their achievements. Wishing you strength.”
Another former colleague at the Times, Andy Stephens, wrote: “This is the most dreadful news – I’m so sorry for your loss. I worked with Ron for several years at The Times and he was a great journalist but, more importantly, a wonderful human being. We shared a love of horses. I hope the many tributes bring you some comfort.”
Source: The Guardian