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‘There could have been resentment’


Scott Westgarth

Westgarth spoke in his final post-fight interview about boxing for the love of the sport

Three months after sharing a ring and a post-bout interview with Scott Westgarth, Dec Spelman was at his opponent’s funeral.

Westgarth won the pair’s contest at Doncaster Dome in February, but the 31-year-old died hours later after falling ill backstage.

But since the fight’s tragic aftermath, 26-year-old Spelman has grown closer to Westgarth’s family.

“There could have been resentment, but luckily they have been understanding. I really thank them for that,” Spelman told 5 live Boxing with Costello Bunce, in a podcast to be released on Monday.

“They have been great with me ever since. Scott’s brother Adam said I think we should get together and go through things so that I could know Scott as a person rather than an opponent. And so they could get to know me.

“I have got his name on my shorts, his initials on my T-shirt, I just want to put his name out there high.

“The way I look at it he beat me and so anything I go on to do, he potentially could have done as well.”

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Spelman’s record stands at 12 wins and one defeat – inflicted by Westgarth

Spelman says he had no sense of anything untoward in Westgarth’s condition after the fight, attributing his unsteadiness on his feet to a knockdown in a frenetic final round.

It was not until the day after the fight, as he woke up to a series of missed calls, that Spelman realised something was wrong.

“To be told the chances of him living were not good was a big shock,” he added.

“It took that day coming to the reality of things and the first thing I did I had to put a tweet out to acknowledge it and what do you put? I didn’t know what to do.

“I got a message off Adam after that. What do you say? And they probably didn’t know what to say to me. They have been great with me ever since.”

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Spelman tweeted his support for Westgarth after learning his opponent was in a critical condition…

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…and his condolences once the news of Westgarth’s death was announced

After being encouraged to continue fighting by Westgarth’s family, Spelman returned to boxing with a win over Jindrich Velecky in June.

Westgarth’s brother Adam will be in the crowd when he takes part in the Ultimate Boxer series in London on 2 November.

“It will only drive me. If it doesn’t spur you on, I don’t know what will,” Spelman said.

“The way Scott went was doing something he loved and I suppose my family would understand that if it was ever to happen to me.”