Boxing Community Hit with Tragedies

By Ted Sares on May 12, 2015
Boxing Community Hit with Tragedies
Two former high-profile boxers recently passed away and another is in an induced coma.

Police received a call about a man found dead at the family-owned gym Tuesday morning…

They say bad news comes in threes and apparently boxing is no exception as two former high-profile boxers just passed away and another is in an induced coma as a result of a non-boxing related incident the cause of which is presently being investigated.

Tony Ayala Jr. (1963-2015)

“Oh my God, I can’t believe this…He was doing everything he could to get his life together. I just saw him (Monday). He seemed in good spirits.”—John Michael Johnson

“He could have been one of the greatest.”—Osmar Alaniz, boxing coach and friend of the family

The controversial Ayala, 52, was found dead today inside the Zarzamora Street Gym in San Antonio, Texas, where he was once trained by his father, Tony Ayala Sr., who passed away in April 2014. Reportedly, Ayala had been working with local children and hoping to reopen the gym. Police received a call around 7:48 a.m. about a man found dead at the family-owned gym Tuesday morning, a SAPD spokeswoman said. The cause of death has not been released.

Nicknamed “El Torito,” Tony Junior was once a top contender for a world title and seemed to be a potential can’t miss superstar, but then he was arrested for rape in New Jersey in 1983. He was convicted and served 16 years in prison. In 2004, he was reincarcarcerated as a result of a parole violation and spent 10 more years in prison.

Tony was a teenage prodigy as an amateur boxer as part of the well-known Ayala clan that includes brothers Mike, Sammy and Paulie, who also boxed.

Ayala’s record was 21-0 (1980-1982) at the time of his first prison term and then, after mounting a comeback, he went 10-2 (1999-2003) for a final record of 31-2 with 27 KOs.

Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis (1970-2015)

“Thanks for Love you gave me Champ you will Always be my Champ! RIP.”—Trainer Butch Sanchez

Former WBA welterweight champion Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis, 44, died Monday after being hit by a car while riding his bicycle in his native Guyana outside the capital city of Georgetown.

Lewis, a fan-friendly and underrated boxer with heavy hands, knocked out James Page to win the vacant WBA welterweight title in February 2001, becoming the first boxer from Guyana to earn a world title. Guyana declared a national holiday after the Brooklyn-based Guyanese fighter won. He was given a home in an upscale area of the country, among other prizes.

Said one poster, “Andrew Lewis ~ ‘The Gentleman from Guyana’ ran the FYF in Georgetown, Guyana. Open to all youth. To say ‘Six Heads’ was a good guy was an understatement. He was a ‘great guy.’”

Andrew’s final mark was 23-4-2 and his level of opposition was very high.

Denis Boytsov (born 1986)

“We know nothing about the cause of the accident, therefore we will not comment on it.”—Promoter Kalle Sauerland

This German-based Russian heavyweight is now hospitalized and fighting for his life after a metro accident in Germany that is being investigated by police.

The 29-year-old Russian contender (36-1) was reportedly found by a train conductor late last week in Berlin, with severe head trauma and injured hands, in the railway tunnel between the Bismarckstrasse and Wilmersdorfer Strasse metro stations. Boytsov was also found to be intoxicated. It is still too early to speculate as to what happened.

With dangerous swelling on the brain starting to develop after hospitalization, Boytsov was put into a medically induced coma.

According to his manager Gagik Khachatrian, the native Russian’s wife is awaiting the impending birth of their child.

We can only pray that Denis recovers.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Tony Ayala Jr. - Steve Gregory



Andrew Lewis vs James Page - 1/2



Andrew Lewis vs James Page - 2/2



Denis Boytsov Knockouts



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  1. Kid Blast 05:44pm, 05/17/2015

    Heroin and a syringe were found next to the body of Tony Ayala Jr., San Antonio police disclosed Thursday in a report that says investigators suspect a drug overdose killed the troubled boxer.

  2. Eric 06:23am, 05/15/2015

    Nicolas…...I stand corrected. I didn’t realize that Bumphus won a world title and I remember watching the first Bramble-Mancini fight, I just didn’t remember the Hatcher-Bumphus fight on the undercard. What I find amazing is that Bobby Czyz rebounded from the Hamsho loss and captured titles in the light heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions. Czyz even had a relatively decent performance against Holyfield considering the odds. Czyz, who is probably 5’10” while wearing shoes with a 1” heel even took on the huge and hard punching Corrie Sanders. Perhaps it was that kind of heart that made Czyz’s career more successful than the other 3 members of “Tomorrow’s Champions.”

  3. Kid Blast 10:26am, 05/14/2015

    nicolas, I try—often in vain and frustration—to practice my Christian beliefs with this sort of thing and it’s not always easy, but I DO try very hard. Heck, I suppose I could even make a case for no forgiveness for Adonis Stevenson, but I can’t bring myself to do that given he has served his time and hopefully has seen the light.

    But I get your point and I do recognize that there is real evil in this world and that there are those who intend to do evil.

  4. nicolas 10:04am, 05/14/2015

    KID BLAST: The Mike Tyson story is one of a man who we have hoped has found redemption in life, and is now a better person. Perhaps we are being sold a bill of goods in his situation, time might tell. My sympathies go to the Ayala family, but I could not bring myself to feel sorrow for him, as some said when he died RIP.  When he came back to boxing, I wanted the Tony Ayala story to be a success. He got an opportunity in life that many who committed the crimes he did do not get because of the skills that he had. Yet a woman in 2000 had her house broken into by him, but she was fortunate enough to have a gun and wound him, as she might have been as unfortunate to suffer the same fates that some other women suffered because of him. I won’t go into details about the work I do, but I meet many Tony Ayala’s in my life, and find it difficult to wish him well in the afterlife.

  5. nicolas 09:43am, 05/14/2015

    ERIC: Regarding that magazine cover, don’t forget that John Bumphus did become a champ. Lost the Jr. Welterweight title on the first Bramble-Mancini fight in Buffalo to Gene Hatcher, on a controversial stoppage.

  6. John aka L.L. Cool John 02:16pm, 05/13/2015

    Bikermike: None taken.

  7. bikermike 01:34pm, 05/13/2015

    Cool John…no offense ...

    Fuk…if I was in USA….and a citizen…...I’d carry two guns…

  8. bikermike 01:30pm, 05/13/2015

    Ted…...

    I’ve been around the block ‘cupla times’....in politics…soldier…and hard work…
    Passing a cupla tests in university doesn’t give anybody the right to judge…

    God Rest Tony Ayala….
    For those who wish to take this occasion to expel their thoughts about some of the dark times of his past…the American Indian has a a phrase for people who would choose this moment to express those points…..
    loosely translated to english…....fuk’m

  9. bikermike 01:23pm, 05/13/2015

    Hey John..aka Cool John

    .....forsooth….put away the sword….or die by the sword

    I’m aware of the scriptures…....and , to tell you the truth….most of us wish to lean towards..if not live by those lessons that are presented in the ‘Good Book’

    now….if you’re askn’ ‘Mericans’ to give up their guns..??!?!!?......you’ll be tarred and feathered…...if not shot to death

  10. Kid Blast 01:16pm, 05/13/2015

    I Agree Mike but there is a lot of hate directed at Tony on Facebook and on other sites. I get that, but I also know its easy to hate on someone who can’t respond. Bernard Fernandez is a prime example of this inexplicable over-the-top-beat down on Tony. Some of these so-called “elite” writers would sh-t their pants if someone ever confronted one of them. Sure, his crimes were horrible but he did over 25 years in prison. He did the full load-no parole on the second stint. If you want his blood, dig him up and drain him dry.

    Tony is a scum bag, but Tyson gets a pass. What am I missing? Both did the crime. Both did the time.

  11. bikermike 01:10pm, 05/13/2015

    I share with Tex Hassler.  Tony Ayala Jr. was on his way..Our prayers and thoughts to Tony’‘s family and friends.  May he rest…in Peace.

    ..and the same to family and friends of Andrew Lewis….

    as my information has it ...Denis Boytov is very critical….and we all join to wish him the best

  12. John aka L.L. Cool John 10:10pm, 05/12/2015

    It’s sad, but boxing and tragedies are so commonplace. It’s the nature of the beast.
    Then said Jesus unto him, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matthew 26:52, King James Version)

  13. Kid Blast 07:44pm, 05/12/2015

    Thanks Tex and prayers are also extended to those who were on the Amtrak train that crashed in Philadelphia tonight. And to those in Nepal as well.

  14. Tex Hassler 07:35pm, 05/12/2015

    Tony Ayala was on the way to the top before he got into trouble. Our prayers are for the families of all of the ones mentioned in Teds fine article

  15. Kid 07:28pm, 05/12/2015

    No. It was Moore and he would have slaughtered him. Tony was self-destructive and that was a shame because he was a very intelligent person. Just had that dark side to him.

    Duran was in his sights but he had a way to go before that one.

  16. Eric 07:26pm, 05/12/2015

    He would have destroyed Moore. I could have sworn they were lining up a possible match with Duran. That would have been an interesting fight. Ayala really blew it BIG TIME. What an absolute waste.

  17. Kid Blast 07:21pm, 05/12/2015

    He was schedule to fight Davey Moore but then got arrested.

  18. Eric 07:00pm, 05/12/2015

    It doesn’t seem that long ago when Ayala was featured on some boxing mag with Bobby Czyz, Johnny Bumphus, and Alex Ramos as “Tomorrows Champions.” Czyz was the only one who became a champion and he probably would have been picked as the least promising of the group at that time. Ayala was a bully in & out of the ring so you have to wonder if he would have crumbled when someone stood up to him. He was the 154lb Mike Tyson before Mike Tyson. I remember they were setting up a Duran-Ayala bout before Ayala arrest. Would have been interesting to see how Ayala would have done against the Fab 4 or 5 if you include Benitez.

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