Dec Spelman barely made a triumphant return to the ring at London's O2 Arena on Friday night when he was defeated in the Ultimate Boxxer light heavyweight against Shakan Pitters.
Spelman's last competition ended in February with the death of Scot Westgarth at the Doncaster Dome. This backstory made sure that at night it was not just about winning or losing here.
The Scunthorpe knockout specialist with Westgarth's name on his T-shirt just wanted to move safely through the Eight Fighter Knockout Tournament. Thankfully, the 26-year-old has managed that.
Dec Spelman made a triumphant return to the ring at London's O2 Arena on Friday
He was defeated by Shakan Pitters in the final of the Ultimate Boxxer Light Heavyweight
His points in a persevering, if unspectacular, final against a noble opponent three years his senior was still a kind of triumph.
Pitters left with the bulk of Ultimate Boxxer's £ 50,000 gold robe, with the likelihood that a British title distributor would be further away.
Spelman has given everything. "We both sacrificed so much, and Dec needs a lot of credit," Pitters said.
But the Indigo in the O2 had gotten scared early. The crowd of 2,000 players fell silent when Spelman's first opponent, the unbeaten wildcard Sam Horsfall, was on the canvas for a few minutes after a devastating combination in the second round of the quarter -finale ended the competition.
Spelman, who himself coped with a bloody nose when Horsfall briefly gathered himself, dropped to his knees in the corner and seemed to lose himself in prayer. After getting up, he looked several times at the battered Horsfall, who had a lot around him when doctors helped him to breathe.
Spelmans (L) last fought the death of Scot Westgarth in February
Spelman responds by turning off Sam Horsfall while the towel is thrown in the quarter-finals
Spelman had said that Westgarth would always be in his mind, now the well-being of a 25-year-old was his and all thoughts.
Fortunately, the Surrey man rode up after five minutes of waiting and left the ring. Spelman's arm was lifted triumphantly, but the brutality of the exchange had left its mark.
The organizers of this attractive new event, which was put into operation here for the second time, want to offer music, entertainment and fast fire in a three-round knockout format that is not unlike Prizefighter.
It's aimed at both the younger, random fan and regulars, with DJ Charlie Sloth on the decks between fights.
But the fights were not bad either. Three rounds of three minutes provide a fast and furious spectacle.
In the early fights, Joel McIntyre was clearly superior to outsider Darrell Church in every section of his opening bout, and the 6-foot 6-inch giant Pitters took a comfortable win against Sam Smith.
Spelman also managed to beat the highly rated Joel McIntyre in a punishing semi-final
Spelman struggled when Pitters lost blood the first time he changed the final
Although Spelman caught the big man with a few strokes, the fight was eventually lost on points
Geogii Bacon defeated Jordan Joseph in a quarter-final split decision but was unsuitable for Pitters when it came to battling Spelman in the final.
"I enjoy that and show off my skills at this stage," said Pitters after his knockout in the second round. His army of fans from Birmingham also agreed.
Spelman had prevailed against highly regarded McIntyre in a highly contested semi-final, but had some difficulties when Pitters lost blood in the early stages of the final.
The pair obviously got tired in the second round, the eighth evening of the evening fight for both fighters, and although Spelman hit the big man in the third with a few blows with that fearsome left hand, the fight was lost.
In the broader sense, it certainly was not.