Former world champion middleweight boxer Nigel Benn met up with his first professional opponent 25 years after knocking him out.
South Shields' Graeme Ahmed was twice knocked to the canvas by Benn in their 1987 fight, which ended in the second round.
The pair met again at Harton and Westoe Miners Welfare, the home of trainer Mal Gates’ boxing gym.
Benn told Sky Tyne and Wear he remembers Ahmed being “gracious” in defeat.
He said: “To go and see him again 25 years later, it is just one of those things as you get older.
“My career started with Graeme Ahmed so it is nice to see him again.”
Ahmed says hand speed separated Benn from other fighters he faced.
He said: “He would pull four or five punches off in a millisecond and everyone of them was thrown properly and they were hard, believe me!”
Benn, who fought twice in the region, visited the North East for the last time before he moves to Australia.
The 48-year-old later answered questions from hundreds of fans at a dinner organised by Wraith Promotions in Westoe.
The former World champion said: “I find people up this side much more warm than anywhere else.
“When you come here, you don’t feel no pressure, I always feel relaxed and comfortable here.”
Benn was based at Catterick when working for the army and during this visit got a permanent reminder of the area with a pair of tattoos.
He got ‘Dominic’ on his left arm and ‘Sade’ on his right, the names of two of his children, at Newcastle's Northern Glory Studio.
Benn also offered advice to North East boxers who will be fighting at Newcastle’s O2 Academy November 24, 2012.
Tickets for the event are available here
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