Naturally more reserved than most fighters, Mark Winters had a resolve of titanium strength that saw him scale many challenges in the ring - even when one of his finest moments almost ended in tragedy.
On October 11, 1997, the Antrim man raised his arm in triumph. He had just given a sublime display of boxing, thoroughly out-foxing Carl Wright to lift the British light-welterweight title.
The joy of landing the Lonsdale belt was such that he refused to fly home and, instead, hopped on to one of the coaches that had brought his fans to the Sheffield Arena. The celebrations, though, were cut short.
"I remember in the fight from about the sixth round I was on cloud nine," said Winters.
"Carl kept coming and coming but I just felt that I was in total control. I said I would go back with my supporters because they had spent their money to come and back me.
"Then, before we got on the boat, the call came through that Carl had collapsed in the back of his car and he was rushed to hospital to have a clot on the brain removed. I was just shocked.
"Thankfully he recovered and when he got out of hospital, me and my dad and my coach went over to see him. Seeing his kids there was quite hard to take, it got me thinking that it could have been me. At one point I really considered retiring.
"I remember after that being on a Sky programme with Lennox Lewis and they brought up this video of Carl and his family and the song playing over it was 'Lucky Man'. The look on my face said it all, I hadn't been expecting it and Lennox actually said to me that if I didn't want to be there I should leave.
"But I listened to what Carl said and he wished me well and told me to go and give my best performance.
"It was really tough… Carl said he wanted me to go and that helped me a lot. Did it affect me for the rest of my career? Maybe subconsciously, I don't know.
"Professional boxing is very different to the amateurs. The gloves for a start - you feel like you're being hit with a brick. The brutality literally hits you up the face."
Winters would return home to successfully defend his British title with another polished performance against former Commonwealth champion Bernard Paul in the Waterfront Hall before losing, controversially, in his next defence at the hands of Jason Rowland in London by a single point.
Defeats to future world champions Junior Witter and Ricky Hatton followed before he called a halt to his ring days in 2004.
It is 30 years ago this month that Winters stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight as an amateur.
The late, talented, Paul Ireland was in the opposite corner at the Ulster Hall with the expectation of another Ulster senior title on his impressive CV. Winters was not going to follow the script. Guided by Antrim coach Syd McComb, he had his own plan for glory and carried it out to perfection.
These were the days when a spine-tingling, sell-out, atmosphere was taken for granted on senior finals night and Winters had put down a marker that he was here to stay at the elite level.
It was a moment far removed from the first time he entered the Antrim club.
"I was about seven when my dad got me a pair of gloves for Christmas. He would teach me a bit in the house but then went down to the Antrim club one night and when the guy asked me to throw a one-two I threw both hands at once. I hadn't a clue! He just said, 'we have a bit of work to do with you'.
"I stuck at it and with the help of the coaches and Paul Dempsey, who was a very good boxer, I came on a lot and was full of confidence. That night in the Ulster Hall was very special," added Winters, a Commonwealth Games silver medallist before winning the British light-welter title.
"That was my first year in the seniors and it couldn't have been any tougher. I had to beat Seamus McCann in the semi-finals and then Paul in the final. It was always a massive night and the Ulster Hall has that cauldron atmosphere that is amazing.
"I had gone to watch guys like Paul and here I was facing him. At the end I was happy that I had fought a good fight and to win was great. I watched it recently on YouTube and it was fantastic to look at it again."
Irish titles would follow in 1992 and 1993 as well as a quarter-final slot in the World Championships in Tampere, Finland when the great Damaen Kelly picked up a rare bronze medal for the Ireland team.
"But in 1994 at the Ulster Hall he was once again the underdog. It was Commonwealth Games year and on finals night the light-welter slot was going to be taken by either the Antrim man or Eamonn Magee. Future Commonwealth professional champion Magee was the favourite.
"I never allowed myself to think about the Commonwealth Games. My whole focus was on Eamonn. Most people thought I couldn't beat him, but I knew I could.
"Eamonn liked to intimidate people in the ring and he could do it just with his persona - the way he would snap his gloves together and stare at people, trying to get in their head.
"But we were good friends and I didn't have him on a pedestal. I kept the pressure on him and got the win. I definitely shocked a few people that night and that put me on the way to the Commonwealth Games," said Winters.
He was on the plane to Victoria, Canada with a boxing team dripping with talent.
Arguably, the medal tally of two silvers and two golds was a disappointment such was the ability at every weight.
Winters concurred and revealed just how tight that group was as they chased glory, the Antrim man taking silver after a tense battle in the final with England's Peter Richardson.
"At the time I had mixed feelings, it was fantastic and disappointing at the same time. If you had said to me before the Games I could have a silver medal I would have bitten your hand off, but at the end of the final I was gutted.
"I lost 20-17… I had him hurt late on and the referee gave him a count. If he had let me continue I'm sure I would have closed the gap on the computer scoring. I went back to the dressing room and felt disappointed, but then my team-mates were shouting at me saying they had no medal to take home so that put things in perspective.
"The Games were a great experience and I often tell my son Ethan about what it was like. He's into his Trampolining and has been to the British Championships.
"He's only 12 but I've told him to give it everything and see if he can get to something like that because it is special.
"That team we had was like a family. We ate together, played some games together in our down time - we were there for each other and it has continued to this day because we stay in touch through Facebook.
"That's what's so great about boxing - you've guys from different backgrounds and there was never any talk about politics or anything like that.
"I never came across any of that in any club or anywhere, not a hint in my whole time in the sport. There was real respect, it's built into the sport."
Winters, who is Assistant Health Club manager at LivingWell Health Club at the Hilton, Templepatrick, continues to be held in high esteem by everyone in the sport and when it came to putting the ring behind him, the 49-year-old admits that he was greatly helped by his family.
"It can be very tough for guys to leave it all behind because it is so much part of your life, preparing for the next date.
"My parents and my wife Anita helped a lot and I was very fortunate that I had a job to go into at the Hilton.
"Boxing has changed a lot since I was boxing and the money guys get now as amateurs, they don't need to pro.
"When I was boxing amateur for Ireland I was given a hundred quid for the year and it was a bonus when we were taken to Dundalk to pick out a tracksuit! Now the guys get thousands and good luck to them. They have all they need to compete with the best in the world.
"If a kid wants to be a boxer I would encourage them as long as they are prepared to put in the work.
"I got to travel the world and see places I could only have dreamed about and made some great friends for life.
"Boxing gave me so many opportunities which I'm very grateful for."