Hugh Russell dead at 63: Double British boxing champion and Olympic medallist dies following illness as tributes pour in | The Sun
FORMER British boxing champion Hugh Russell has passed away aged 63.
Russell won bronze in the 1980 Olympic Games while representing the Republic of Ireland.
The Northern Irishman then went on to become a double British champion in the flyweight and bantamweight division.
His bronze medal in Moscow was Ireland's first Olympic medal since the 1964 games.
Known as "Little Red", the former fighter finished his pro career in 1985.
He later became a photographer, working for Irish News, whose sports editor Paul McConville has paid tribute to the 17-2 boxer following his death after an illness.
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McConville said: "Absolutely devastated by the loss of colleague Hugh Russell.
"Champion boxer and top class photographer but a friend and colleague who was always on hand to lend some sage advice or lighten the mood with a wise crack and that cheeky grin. RIP Champ."
Many in the boxing world have honoured McConville with kind words following his passing, including another Northern Irish boxing great Carl Frampton.
He wrote: "I've just heard the sad news that Hugh Russell passed away. As a BBBoC member and an ex-boxer, he always had the fighters’ best interest at heart.
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"One of the nicest men you could meet. RIP Hughie."
Promoter Frank Warren said: "My thoughts and everyone at Queensberry are with the family and friends of Hugh Russell.
"A former Olympic medalist and British champion Hugh will be a greatly missed figure in our sport, and above all else was a thoroughly nice man and a great ambassador for boxing in Northern Ireland."
Fellow Irish News photographer Mal McCann paid tribute saying: "Absolutely devastated that my friend, colleague and champion Hugh Russell has passed away today. Things won't be the same without you. Rest in peace Champ."
Another colleague Kevin Scott tweeted: "Devastated at the passing of the legend, Hugh Russell. I have never met a kinder person than Hugh. Always a smile, a laugh and a punchy opening line when you met.
"My thoughts today are with his family and Irish News colleagues, who I know cherished him so dearly. RIP Hugh."
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