by Eliot Stott
18-months ago, Dec Spelman had not only suffered the first loss of his professional career but found himself in an incredibly unfortunate position, hearing the news of Scott Westgarth’s death less than 24 hours after their 10-round fight.
In a tragic event that has been heavily publicised over the last 18-months - in which Spelman has taken to the ring six times - Spelman seems to have accepted some time ago that Westgarth will remain a part of his career & life forever.
Speaking to ESBR’s Eliot Stott, Spelman stated that Westgarth’s family were ‘always a phone call away’ and that members of Westgarth’s family had been to every one of his fights since the tragedy.
“It’s part of my career now, I’ve accepted that”, Spelman went onto say. “I want to open up my own gym one day and there will be a big picture of Scott there”.
“It’s important to me that people continue to talk about Scott, so although some time has passed, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t talk about him.”
Despite the tragedy of Scott Westgarth, Spelman now makes the first defence of his Light-Heavyweight title against Shakan Pitters who he faced only a few months ago in the final of Ultimate Boxxer.
Pitters who won the tournament after defeating Spelman in the final, scoring a knockdown in the process has perhaps been quieter than expected since his victory, featuring in two 6 round contests since November last year.
Understandably, Spelman looks back on the experience and is grateful for the exposure that he received.
“I enjoyed the experience and the tournament showed that I’m an exciting fighter who people will want to see again.”
“My team and I can take little bits & bobs from the three rounds that I shared with Shakan last year, but we also know that I was pretty busted up by the time I got into the ring with him!”
Spelman stopped the previously undefeated Sam Horsfall before successfully coming through a war with former English champ Joel McIntyre in the semi-final.
“Not taking anything away from Shakan, he was fantastic in that competition and did very well that night. This is a fight that I wanted and it’s going to be very different to the 3 round contest. Shakan shouldn’t expect the same Dec Spelman and vice versa.”
Spelman also remarked on the fact that he was glad that there was no beef between the two of them having got to know the Brummie during the Ultimate Boxxer experience.
“Out of all of the lads that did Ultimate Boxxer, I probably got on with him the most to be honest with you. I respected him even more after we shared the ring together and one of the reasons why I’m giving him this shot is because I think that he deserves it.”
Having grown up in Scunthorpe & Birmingham respectively, both fighters have spent their pro careers boxing in and around their native areas, making Saturday night both of their debuts at the famous York Hall.
Admitting to have not been to York Hall beforehand, Spelman expressed excitement having watched several events at the famous venue on TV whilst growing up.
Another fight taking place on Saturday night in the Light Heavyweight division Zak Chelli (7-0) vs Kody Davies (9-0) which Spelman admitted that he’d be watching at home if he wasn’t fighting on the same night.
“It’s a British eliminator so I’d be mad not to take an interest in this one. Obviously I’m fully concentrated on my fight but there’s lots of places to go for the winner on Saturday.”
“I think that Zak Chelli pips it btw. He looks like he trains like an absolute beast and although Kody Davies is a very skilful fighter and we haven’t really seen Zak Chelli tested yet.”
Finally, when speaking on arguably the best division in Britain domestically, Spelman argued that it’s made him even more focused on Saturday night due to the amount of ‘carrots dangling’ in the division.
“I think whoever wins on Saturday is likely to be eyeing up the British title” (currently held by Joshua Buatsi). “Personally, I’d be interested in fighting Steven Ward (who holds the WBO European Light Heavyweight Title) as well.”
“I’ve said this my entire career, I want to be in the biggest fights possible with the biggest names possible whilst always being an exciting fighter”.