Dec Spelman handed the English title belt to Scott Westgarth’s family as soon as he won it.
And while now he is aiming to win the Commonwealth light-heavyweight strap for his own collection, he continues to be motivated by his former foe.
Spelman, 28, shared the ring with Westgarth in February 2018 but two days later the Northumberland boxer died from a brain injury suffered in the fight.
But the memory of his opponent is now used to inspire him rather than hold him back in his career.
Scunthorpe scrapper Spelman, 28, takes the next step tonight when he goes up against Manchester’s Lyndon Arthur for the Commonwealth light-heavyweight crown at BT Sport’s studios in Stratford.
“I want to do something with my career to do it as a tribute for him,” said Spelman.
“I can’t take it on as negative energy, I use it as a drive.”
It is not a cold way of looking at it.
This is the harsh reality for too many boxers unfortunately as they look to move on from the harrowing experience of being the opponent in a fatal fight.
“It took me three months but when I made the decision to box on, to continue fighting, I had to be fully focused,” he said.
“I will never forget anything like that, I think about Scott all the time but I also have to put it to the back of my mind.”
Spelman lost to Westgarth that night at the Doncaster Dome and they stood side by side for a post-fight interview.
But in the dressing room moments later, his condition deteriorated and he collapsed before being rushed to hospital where he would lose his life two days later aged 31.
That bout was an eliminator for the English light-heavyweight title.
So last year when Spelman got his shot at the belt against Kirk Garvey, it felt right to have Westgarth’s brother Adam ringside at Baths Hall in Scunthorpe.
A few days later, Spelman travelled up to Prudhoe to hand the belt over to the Westgarth family at a memorial bench near the family home.
“It felt like the right thing to do,” he said. “There was history behind the belt. That was why I did it.
“It was just what, me as a person, wanted to do. It was emotional but it was something that had to be done.”
Now Spelman, who started out thinking he may have the career of a journeyman, has a chance to win another title.
He lost the English crown to Shakan Pitters in September but the coronavirus pandemic has helped get him straight back in for another belt.
Spelman posted on Twitter during lockdown that he would fight anyone and a call came to step in against Arthur, who was in need of an opponent for a behind-closed-doors clash.
Arthur, who is due to face Anthony Yarde later this year in a big light-heavyweight bout, has a lot to lose.
Spelman added: “It’s massive for me, you have the Yarde fight hanging over him and that could potentially be my fight afterwards. Then you’re looking at serious money.”