Ernie Field, a boxer who fought before a major heavyweight clash involving Muhammad Ali and Britain’s Henry Cooper has died aged 70.
A crowd of 46,000 people watched Mr Field beat Tony Moore in a warm-up to the big fight at Highbury, in London, on May 21, 1966.
And Mr Field’s professional career continued until the spring of 1968, when he took part in a bout in South Africa.
Despite starting as a middleweight, he was matched against heavyweights in the later stages of his career.
He had earlier spent some time playing rugby for Stanley Rangers and in a reserve team for Wakefield Trinity.
But he cut back on his rugby as his boxing career flourished.
Mr Field recently suffered with throat cancer, and died at Snapethorpe Hall Care Home last Thursday.
He had previously lived in Bottomboat, Stanley and Outwood.
His son Derek Farrar, 48, said: “He would often regale stories of his boxing, which was his main passion.
“He had to give up the rugby because of the possibility of injury, which would have interrupted his boxing career.”
Mr Field was a fitter for the National Coal Board, at Lofthouse Colliery.
He trained at the Robin Hood & Thorpe Amateur Boxing Club (ABC), and was the coal board’s British Middleweight Champion.
He fought internationally for the Amateur Boxing Association of England, at a tournament in West Germany.