Bruno joins tribute to Carpenter, the 'classy gentleman'

Boxer Frank Bruno paid tribute yesterday to a "classy gentleman" at a commemoration service for BBC sports commentator Harry Carpenter.

Many important faces from the worlds of sport and TV, including former world boxing champion Barry McGuigan and veteran golf commentator Peter Alliss, attended the service at St Bride's Church in London to pay tribute to a man affectionately dubbed "the voice of Boxing".

Although Bruno could not attend the thanksgiving because of commitments overseas, broadcaster Des Lynam read out a passage written by him.

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Bruno wrote: "We didn't set out to be a double act. But with my intelligence and Harry's good looks it was inevitable that we would go far.

"I could go on for ages about how wonderful Harry was. He was a classy gentleman.

"You would have to walk a trillion miles to meet a man as nice as Harry Carpenter."

The 84-year-old sports broadcaster died in March. He had been unwell since last summer after a minor heart attack.

During the service the congregation was played out excerpts from Carpenter's broadcasts including the moment he famously appeared to momentarily lose his neutral stance during Bruno's world title fight against Mike Tyson in Las Vegas in 1989, as he said: "Go on...get in there, Frank."

Born in South Norwood, south-east London, in 1925, the fish merchant's son left school at 15 and went on to work for several newspapers.

Carpenter, who was a Morse code operator with the Royal Navy during the Second World War, later became a boxing columnist at the Daily Mail.

It was in 1949 that he joined the BBC and got his first break commentating on an amateur boxing night.

His forthright style endeared him to the British public and, in 1989, he was named International Sportscaster of the Year by the American Sportscasters Association.

In 1991, he was awarded an OBE for services to sports broadcasting and a year later released his autobiography – Where's Harry, My Story.