Brendan Ingle's funeral - a time for all of British boxing to unite
The greatest names across generations of Sheffield boxing history will celebrate the life of Brendan Ingle at his funeral on June 14 and it will be interesting to see if his most flamboyant fighter Naseem Hamed will be amongst the respectful congregation.
The pair were at odds with each other after Hamed left to be coached elsewhere and it’s safe to say their relationship was never the same.
But Hamed has spoken warmly of Ingle, in recent times, and seemed to have a good rapport with Brendan’s son Dom, when their paths crossed.
Esham Pickering, former world title contender, who is mourning his old mentor’s death, has recalled the time the pair trained together at the Wincobank gym.
He said: “Naz was my God. He could have been the best fighter that ever lived. He was a one-off, he may have had a bad attitude sometimes but he was The Man.”
Pickering, 41, believes that if Naz had applied himself like Floyd Mayweather went on to do, the Sheffielder might not have lost to Marco Antonio Barrera, a reverse which effectively ended his career. He expects Naz to be at the funeral, saying he would be disappointed if he did not attend.
Newark’s former European champ said he’d “learned so much” from Ingle.
“He is a different commodity. He had time for anybody who came in his gym, he would stop and make a scene of it all, he would give you his time. I thought he would live forever.
“He lived clean, he was focused on the gym every day for 50 years.”
Pickering said the 12 years he spent at the gym were the best of his life, although he felt he personally didn’t reach his potential.
He said that while the St Thomas gym was modernised, in terms of training and nutrition, it was continuing to roll champions off the production line, in the form of fighters like Kell Brook and Billy Joe Saunders, as it always had.