Waleed Din has dedicated his latest boxing win to his father - who has just won the most important battle of all.
The Sheffield’s boxer’s dad Jamiel, who is in his 40s, was struck down by bacterial meningitis.
The illness happened after Din had lost his unbeaten record - and definitely gave the 23-year-old a different sense of perspective.
“My Dad was in critical care for seven weeks. For that period of time I did not train once, I was just at my dad’s bedside. But he was at ringside cheering for me (on Saturday when he outpointed Stefan Slavchev, from Bulgaria at the Magna Centre.)
“It was very important to have him there, without my dad I probably wouldn’t be boxing. He is like my manager he does everything for me, my food, tickets,my sponsorship, so I am just glad he is back.
“I dedicate that fight (against Slavchev) to my Dad and plenty more will be dedicated to him.”
Din was pleased to get his ring return fight out of the way. “The performance was very important for me.
“My last fight (Commonwealth loss to Thomas Essomba) didn’t go quite as planned.
“Then we had six opponents fall through in the past 10 days. That screwed with my mind.
“The guy (Slavchev) may have a losing record, but he does come to win. He weighed in a couple of pounds heavier than me.
“He caught me a couple of times, he switched me on because sometimes I switch off thinking the job is already done.”
Din said he had learned from his experience with the African, Essomba.
“I have been told I have everything needed to compete at the top level, skills, a will to win, after being put down getting back up, good chin.”
He said minimum weight was his ideal division to campaign in, “it’s not a problem for me.”
There isn’t much in the way of minimum weight opposition in England, but “internationally, it is a big enough weight division (to find opponents.)
If you take Roman Gonzales (Nicaraguan, 28 years old, WBC World flyweight title holder, W44 L0) for example he fought five years at minimum weight.
“And had Roman Gonzales turned pro like me at flyweight he wouldn’t have been heard of.
“It is not ideal (having to campaign abroad) but if I can win a major title with the right sponsorship, I am sure we can bring people over.”
Din was an early competitor on the Magna bill - and he revealed he conceded the position as headliner to SamO’maison.
“It was my choice to fight low down the bill, my Dad cant sit in one place for too long having just come out of hospital. I would have been main event, but I told them I had to be on early!”
His next contest comes on April 2, an eight rounder, “from then on looking to fight for an international title.”