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Former heavyweight boxing champ David Bey killed in construction accident

By: The Associated Press
September 19, 2017 Updated: September 19, 2017 at 1:43 pm
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FILE – In this March 15, 1985, file photo, Larry Holmes, left, battles David Bey during a bout in Las Vegas. Bey, a former heavyweight boxing champ from Philadelphia nicknamed "Hand Grenade," died Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, in a construction accident in Camden, N.J. Bey was struck by a piece of metal while working on a mixed-use real estate development project, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He was 60. (AP Photo/File)

CAMDEN, N.J. — A former heavyweight boxing champ who was defeated by Larry Holmes died in a construction accident on Thursday.

David Bey, 60, of Philadelphia, was struck by a piece of metal and killed while working on a mixed-use real estate development project in Camden, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

A representative from his union, Local 179 of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, said Bey was a second generation pile driver who had worked 37 years in the trade.

Boxer Construction Accident
FILE – In this Feb. 24, 1993, file photo, Muhammad Ali, left, is joined by David Bey during a news conference in Beijing. Bey, a former heavyweight boxing champ from Philadelphia nicknamed "Hand Grenade," died Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, in a construction accident in Camden, N.J. Bey was struck by a piece of metal while working on a mixed-use real estate development project, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He was 60. (AP Photo/File) (AP Photo/Greg Baker, File) 

"David was a gentleman at all times. He didn't have a mean bone in his body. He was a devout man of God and regularly would listen to scriptures on the radio," said Tony Bianchini, the union's communications director.

Nicknamed "Hand Grenade," Bey started boxing in the U.S. Army. He made his professional boxing debut in 1981 and he went on to defeat Greg Page in 1984 for the United States Boxing Association's heavyweight championship.

He was beaten by a technical knockout after going ten rounds with Holmes for the International Boxing Federation title in 1985.

Bey left the ring in 1994.

"David was inducted into the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame this year surrounded by his union brothers," Bianchini said.

OSHA is investigating the accident.

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