Gary Mason killed in a cycle crash

Boxing star Frank Bruno last night led tributes to fight pal Gary Mason - killed in a crash as he cycled to work."Gentle giant" Mason, 48, was in a head-on collision with a white Vauxhall van as he rode in darkness to his job as a hospital security guard. Former world champ Bruno, 49, said: "We used to spar together in the early days. Gary was maybe a improved technical boxer than me and that spurred me on to work harder. I'm very sorry about his death, particularly the circumstances of how it happened."I had a lot of respect for the guy."

Ex-British heavyweight champ Mason died just after 6.15am on Thursday at a busy junction in Wallington, South London - half a mile from the home where he is believed to have lived alone. Onlookers said he was wearing dark clothing and had no helmet.He was flung from the bike and suffered huge head injuries. The van driver went to his aid and called an ambulance.The 43-year-old was later arrested on doubt of causing death by careless driving and was bailed until March.

Shocked Yvonne Kgatla, 50, who works in a nearby residential home, said: "I didn't see the accident but saw a man on the ground, still turning. Two people were trying to talk to him. One was on the phone."An inquest was opened and adjourned yesterday. Mason was champion from January 1989 to March 1991 when he lost to ultimate world No1 Lennox Lewis. Boxing promoter Frank Maloney said: "It's a great loss, not just to boxing but to life in general. He was always a happy guy with a smile on his face.

"Even if things were going wrong, he cheered other people up. He was one of the nice guys of boxing and did huge work for charity."He added: "Gary was a good heavyweight but was around at the wrong time, with the likes of Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno."If he was around today he would have conquered the division."Former agent David Hahn said: "Gary was the classic gentle giant. No one ever had a bad word to say against him."Jamaican-born Mason, who grew up in Wandsworth, stop boxing after suffering an eye injury.


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