Scott Westgarth never had the chance to hit the big time in boxing.
The 31-year-old was in only his tenth fight of a four and a half year professional career when the Sheffield-trained light heavyweight suffered injuries which were to rob him of his life.
Among the mourners at his funeral this afternoon was a man who did reach the top of the sport- former IBF cruiserweight world champion Glenn McCrory, 52, had come to Grenoside crematorium, Sheffield, to pay his respects to a younger fighter from a similar upbringing.
McCrory had been brought up in Annfield Plain, County Durham, just 20 miles from where Westgarth was born in Hexham, Northumberland.
But there was another family connection which linked McCrory to the Westgarths.
Scott’s dad John, who was also a pro boxer, KO’d McCrory in September, 1985, breaking the future world champion’s then unbeaten run.
The two warriors had been friends every since.
And McCrory had been ringside, commentating for a video channel at Scott’s fatal fight.
McCrory sat in the congregation today, surrounded by dozens of Sheffield Boxing Centre boxers, trainers, keep-fitters and youngsters.
All were united in grief over Scott, who had outpointed Dec Spelman at Doncaster Dome on February 24, but then became unwell in the dressing room.
He was taken to hospital where he later died from a suspected brain haemorrhage.
The circumstances of Newcastle United fan Scott’s death have clearly taken time to unravel - today’s funeral was 94 days after his death.
But at least his partner and family - and friends, admirers and gym-mates, have at last had chance to pay their respects to a popular young man, taken too soon.
Scott’s dad John had the last word in the Order of Service booklet: “Scott was my champion, my hero.”