Ronnie Nathanielsz

Ronald Fredrick William Nathanielsz (November 3, 1935 – November 11, 2016), was a Sri Lankan-born Filipino sports journalist, commentator and analyst.

Ronnie Nathanielsz
Ronnie Nathanielsz.jpg
Ronald Fredrick William Nathanielsz[1]

(1935-11-02)November 2, 1935
DiedNovember 11, 2016(2016-11-11) (aged 81)
Resting placeManila Memorial Park – Sucat, Parañaque
  • Sport journalist
  • Commentator
  • Sport analyst
Years activec. 1965–2016

Early lifeEdit

Nathanielsz was born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1935. He was the eldest son of Elmo Nathanielsz and his wife Phyllis (née Labrooy) of Colombo.[2]

He and his brother-in-law, Annesley 'Bunny' Joseph, belonged to the same boxing club in their youth. They trained under former Ceylon flyweight champion Henry Young, who thought that Ronnie had the potential to become an Olympic boxer. However, at age 17 or 18, Nathanielsz was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, ending his boxing career.[3]


In 1965, Nathanielsz was working for radio station DZHP.[4] He worked as a columnist for the sports section of the Manila Standard-Today and Philippine Daily Inquirer newspapers.[2] For Inquirer, he wrote the section Inside Sports back in 2011.[5] He was also involved in various sports promotions in boxing. At the Philippine Basketball Association from the 1980s until the early 1990s, he covered basketball matches on camera. He primarily focused on covering the sport of boxing in his whole sports journalism career.[2]

Then-President Ferdinand Marcos granted Philippine citizenship to Nathanielsz on May 14, 1973, through Presidential Decree 192.[1]

In 1975, Nathanielsz was appointed by then-President Marcos as a liaison officer between the Philippine government and the organizers of the Thrilla in Manila boxing match (Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier).[2] A few years later, he became the news director and general manager of the Maharlika Broadcasting System, the former brand of Channel 4.

His staunch loyalty to Marcos received some criticisms. In GTV-4's Face of the Nation, a talk-show that Nathanielsz hosted, his independence was challenged by Benigno Aquino Jr.[2]

He turned down an offer from his father's friend to handle a weekly boxing show in Australia, much to the annoyance of his father.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

He was married to Amelia with whom he had a son[3] and a daughter.[6] He and his family moved to the Philippines in 1962.[1]


Nathanielsz experienced chest pains on November 3, 2016, while en route to Las Vegas, where he was scheduled to join a TV broadcast panel, to cover Manny Pacquiao's fight against Jessie Vargas on November 5. He was then brought to the intensive care unit of the Mills-Peninsula Medical Centers in Burlingame, California. He later died on November 11, 2016 (Pacific Standard Time), of a cardiac arrest. He was 81 years old.[2][7][6]


  1. ^ a b c "Presidential Decree No. 192 : Granting Philippine Citizenship to Ronald Fredrick William Nathanielsz". The LawPhil Project. Arellano Law Foundation. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Basco, Karl Cedrick (12 November 2016). "Ronnie Nathanielsz dies at 81". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Nathanielsz, Ronnie (1 October 2016). "My Filipino heart". Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  4. ^ Trinidad, Recah (October 21, 2016). "Thank God indeed for Doc Agoncillo". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  5. ^ "Sports broadcaster Ronnie Nathanielsz passes away". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 12 November 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  6. ^ a b Songalia, Ryan (12 November 2016). "Sportswriter Ronnie Nathanielsz dies at 81". Rappler. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Nathanielsz in ICU after suffering heart attack". ABS-CBN News. 8 November 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.