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David Diamante Critically Injured; Referee Tony Perez Passes Away at Age 90

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  • David Diamante Critically Injured; Referee Tony Perez Passes Away at Age 90

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    By Arne K. Lang

    There was bad news today on the boxing front. World class ring announcer David Diamante was critically injured in a motorcycle accident. Earlier in the day, it became widely known that retired boxing referee Tony Perez had passed away at age 90.

    Thomas Hauser broke the news of Diamante’s injury on Boxing Scene. The accident actually happened on Monday when Diamante, a motorcycle enthusiast, was riding his bike in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn near his former cigar lounge. It’s uncertain whether another vehicle was involved but, regardless, Diamante suffered multiple injuries to his spine and ribs and a damaged knee – injuries so severe that the 50-year-old ring announcer underwent five hours of surgery.

    It will be a long recovery process. “I’ll have to learn to walk again,” Diamante told Boxing Scene.

    In the last few years, David Diamante has evolved from New York’s top ring announcer into an international ring personality. In 2018, he entered into an exclusive, multi-year deal with Matchroom Boxing. That necessitated frequent trips to the U.K., where Matchroom is headquartered. And Matchroom’s penetration of the U.S. boxing market translated into many domestic trips outside New York.

    Diamante’s most recent assignment took him to Manchester, England for the rematch between Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora. Earlier this month, he worked the Haney-Diaz card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, his second Las Vegas assignment.

    Diamante became so busy that he had to give up his cigar lounge and his job as the in-arena voice of the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association.

    Diamante grew up in the Washington DC metroplex but his family roots are in Brooklyn. He is known for his dreadlocks which hang down below his waist and are sometimes swirled into a turban. He is also known for repeating the surnames of the fighters he introduces, a practice that harks to the late Ed Derian of Atlantic City fame, but a practice that dates back to the days when ring announcers projected their voice through a megaphone.

    Diamante -- and it comes with the territory -- is in frequent demand on the rubber-chicken circuit. It was said of Joe Humphries (1872-1936), the first ring announcer enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, that rarely was there a boxing-themed banquet in or around New York City at which he wasn’t the master of ceremonies. He usually received no pay, these were labors of love, and David Diamante embodies his spirit.

    For those wishing to send a get-well card, Daimante is currently recuperating at NYU Langone Hospital Brooklyn, 150 55th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11220.

    Tony Perez

    Tony Perez died a week ago yesterday, Dec. 14. Retired since 2005 and a long-time resident of Barnegat Township in Ocean County, New Jersey, his career as a referee and judge spanned five decades.

    Born in Brooklyn, Perez spent part of his youth in Puerto Rico before returning to New York. He boxed as an amateur while serving in the Army and went to referee many world title fights beginning with Joe Frazier’s bout against Jimmy Ellis at Madison Square Garden on Fen 16, 1970. Later that year, he refereed Muhammad Ali’s first post-exile fight against Jerry Quarry in Atlanta.

    Perez had numerous assignments overseas. Among other places, his work took him to Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Germany, Norway, England, Northern Ireland, and Panama. In addition to Ali and Frazier, he shared the ring with such luminaries as George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Evander Holyfield, Ken Norton, Carlos Monzon, Alexis Arguello, Roberto Duran, Salvador Sanchez, Marvin Hagler, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Roy Jones Jr.

    Perez’s survivors include his wife Barbara, a former boxing judge who likewise worked many championship fights. They met while co-workers at a distillery and Barbara entered the sport after they were married.

    We here at The Sweet Science send our condolences to Tony’s loved ones. May he rest in peace.

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Simply terrible news. David is a very nice man. I have smoked cigars in his former Cigar Shop--a super venue. And I have talke with him before a fight. There are some people you just never expect to see in this kind of situation. David is one of them. But hell, we are all vulnerable. Prayers and thoughts are not my thing but spiritual healing is. Get well mate.


    • #3
      RIP Tony Perez.

      Get well soon Dave.

      Just saw him at ringside in Manchester, New Hampshire.

      A town I’m sure he hopes to never see again.


      • #4
        Remember that time. I am quite suprised, but now it is okay
        David is a very nice man.