House of Payne: Pinto's death a sad loss
It was only last week that Lewis Pinto was talking about his hopes of being a crowd-pleaser for his second professional fight, scheduled for July 6.
The interview the young boxer gave to the Surrey Comet’s sister paper, the Sutton Guardian, was upbeat and optimistic.
Having had huge success on the Queensbury League circuit, Pinto had enjoyed an impressive points victory over Danny Dontchev on his professional debut at Elephant & Castle in February.
From a sporting perspective, he had everything to look forward to. However, aged just 24, the boxer was found hanged on Sunday morning.
When you see sports coverage on the TV and in newspapers you can forget that its exponents, who sometimes inspire to the extent we part with our own hard-earned cash to watch them in action, are real people with real problems – warts and all.
It doesn’t matter how many awful stories you hear about or come across – and we have had a shocking string of tragedies to report in these sports pages over the past decade or so – there is nothing more sobering than the loss of a young life with, apparently, so much to look forward to.
And, despite what some people may think, that waste is no less shocking when it is a young boxer.
Pinto’s death follows just a week after the suicide of five-time world champion boxer Johnny Tapia and there have been several other similar cases, including Irishman Daryl Sutherland, found dead in Bromley in 2009 at the age of just 27 a little more than a year after winning a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics.
However, there are countless stories of how boxing has provided a valuable focal point for young men whose life would otherwise lack meaning or purpose.
And the close-knit nature of boxing has been underlined this week with tributes and messages of grief not just from the likes of friends and peers Ricky Boylan and Tony Owen, but also the sport’s superstars such as David Haye and Amir Khan.
If only Lewis Pinto was still around to hear how much people cared.