Robbie Regan (b. 1968) is a man who came closer than most to becoming Wales’ first two-weight world champion, but medical conditions prevented him from making the most of the title status he had fought so hard to achieve.
The Cefn Fforest man took up boxing in 1985 under trainer Dai Gardiner, fought for Wales at the 1986 Commonwealth Games and turned professional in 1989.
Gardiner has something of a reputation for putting his fighters through their paces in their early years, and Regan drew three of his first six bouts.
He had shown a busy, exciting style, though, and in his eighth outing claimed the vacant British flyweight title against Joe Kelly.
In his first defence, Regan met a former victim in Francis Ampofo. The Welshman fell to his first professional defeat, though, when he was stopped in the ninth.
Three months later, in December 1991, Regan got an immediate chance for revenge, and he reclaimed his British belt with a points win over Ampofo.
He added the European belt to his collection with victory over Danny Porter the following March, and stayed on the winning trail for the next two years.
That set the Welshman up for a WBO world title shot against Alberto Jimenez, but – after a brave challenge – the Mexican champion stopped his opponent in the ninth.
Regan bounced straight back to become IBF interim champion with a second-round stoppage of Ferid Ben Jeddou, but he became frustrated when a shot at the full title failed to materialise.
The Welshman chose to move up to bantamweight where – on 26 April, 1996 – he challenged highly regarded WBO champion Daniel Jimenez.
On a memorable night at the Welsh Institute of Sport, Regan claimed a 12-round points decision to at last secure the world crown he craved, becoming Wales’ sixth world champion, and the first at bantamweight.
He was set to cash in on the title he had strived so long to win, but sadly – at the age of 28 – it would prove to be his last fight.
Glandular fever kept the new champion out of the ring for two years then – when he tried to make a comeback on a Joe Calzaghe undercard – Regan failed an MRI scan.
He struggled to come to terms with the disappointment and endured out-of-the-ring problems. In 2004 he was jailed for 18 months for attacking a couple in their own home, but has since tried to turn his life around, including taking time to train amateur boxers.