Ben Davies has quit boxing after the death of Scott Westgarth - saying he is no longer prepared to “play Russian roulette” with his own health.
Davies used to train at Sheffield Boxing Centre alongside Westgarth when he was an unlicensed boxer and was mortified when his on time gym-mate was fatally injured at Doncaster Dome.
Westgarth had just beaten Dec Spelman when he collapsed in the dressing room.
“I was watching the show on my phone and they said someone had been taken to hospital” said Davies.
“Dec has been a sparring partner of mine for years and I knew Scott from the time I was at Glyn Rhodes’s gym.
“Because it was the only 10-rounder on the bill I sort of knew it would be one of them” said Davies.
“When I found out what had happened to Scott I just felt sick.
“I was gutted for both him and Dec. I felt really down, in myself.
“I started to think I would not want to be in either of their positions, it was awful.
“I knew I was playing Russian roulette and that I wouldn’t have the support of my wife Christie after what had happened.
“An English title is probably my level, but if I got £5,000 or whatever for that, is it worth risking my life for?
“I knew what I had to do - pack in boxing.”
Davies’ aggressive style of boxing ((W9-L6-D1) left him vulnerable to injuries; he suffered a fractured cheekbone against Dronfield’s Lewis Taylor, (International Boxing Organization Youth Middleweight title fight 2014) and in other fights had severe headaches and vision problems after other bouts.
The 28-year-old father of two, who lives in Brierley, Barnsley, said: “I don’t have a style like they teach at the Ingle gym, my head is always stationary and in punching range.
“I am there to be hit. It puts me more at risk.
“But I have got out of boxing what I wanted and now have a brilliant career as a personal trainer in my studio in Grimethorpe.”
Davies lost his last three fights, including a Central Area Middleweight title ten-rounder last year in Manchester. Six of his nine career wins were knockouts.
His retirement mirrors that of Sheffield’s Wayne Reed, who says Westgarth’s death was one of the influences on his decision.