IT was a solemn day for the boxing community as they paid homage to a legend of the sport.

Some of the most recognisable faces in Welsh boxing were at Our Lady of Peace Parish church in Newbridge to pay their respects to champion boxing trainer Enzo Calzaghe who died at the age of 69 on September 17.

Former Commonwealth super-welterweight champion Bradley Pryce, who was trained by Mr Calzaghe, said: “Growing up, I started boxing at the age of 10 with Enzo and pretty much spent every day with him through my childhood.

“He played a big part in my life. He was such a good trainer and such a good man.

“He used to make it so hard for us in training but he got me to the Commonwealth title and as far as I was possibly going to go, and I’m grateful for that. I’ve got a lot of good memories and it was great to be part of the Calzaghe camp.”

Adding to that sentiment former two-time world light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly who was also trained by Mr Calzaghe in the early part of his career.

He said: “He was an amazing character. He taught me so much, and not only about boxing but life as well. He was an amazing man, very inspirational, very hard-working and very grounded.

“I’m very grateful to Enzo, I owe him a lot, because when I look back now, the lessons he taught me kept me grounded all the way through.

“I’ve got great memories from the times training with Enzo.

“It was a very hard scholarship but he prepared you for the real world.

“Enzo was the master.

“I saw him in the last couple of months. We reminisced over old memories and it was magical.

“He was there from the start and it’s always nice to remember those who helped you from the beginning, and Enzo was one of those who helped me from such a young age.”

There were hundreds of mourners in attendance, and many had to stand outside in the autumn sunshine and listen to the servicebroadcast through large speakers.

South Wales Argus:

An avid lover of music, Mr Calzaghe’s coffin was taken into the church to ‘The House of the Rising Sun. by The Animals.

During the service ‘Gonna Miss Him Now He’s Gone’ a song written by Enzo and performed by him and his brothers performing as Team Calzaghe.

Former South Wales Argus journalist Michael Pearlman who is very close to the Calzaghe family spoke during the service.

He said: “There was no-one like Enzo.

“Had a nine-year-old Joe not been bullied at school the chances are that Eno and Joe would not have ended up at Newbridge boxing club where they became one of sports most successful father and son partnerships.”

He continued: “Enzo’s success in training other fighters showed he was a star performer in his own right.

“The story of the team Calzaghe boxing gym will be studied by sports enthusiasts for decades.

“Enzo rightly became Britian’s most decorated boxing trainer.”

He went on to read a statement that Joe had shared a few days earlier on social media where the boxer said “I’m blessed having you as my dad and my best friend. You were my teacher, mentor and will always be my hero.

“You picked me up when I didn’t believe in myself, and you made me believe. Without you nothing would have been possible.

“I thank God you were with me by my side all the way through my life.

“You supported me through the highs and lows and taught me how being a great dad should be.

“You will be missed every day. You are always in my heart & will continue to be by my side throughout my life.”

Mr Pearlman closed by saying: “Enzo left an enormous mark on the sport of boxing which was evident by the tributes that poured in for him after his passing.

“Enzo will be remembered for so many things because he did so many things, living a tremendously rich and packed life with love and laughter at the forefront.

“He was one of British sport’s most enduring characters.”

Queen’s ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ was played at the end of the service as mourners left.

South Wales Argus:

St Joseph’s ABC coach Tony Borg said: “What he achieved is massive.

“There are people out there who say if you can’t sing yourself you shouldn’t train people to sing, or if you’ve never boxed yourself how can you teach people how to box.

“He inspired Joe and had a massive influence on him, and he was there for him all day every day, so his boxing knowledge didn’t have to be that fantastic.

South Wales Argus: Tony Borg at the funeral of Enzo Calzaghe. Borg at the funeral of Enzo Calzaghe.

“Joe was a class act and Enzo was a fantastic motivator and the two worked well together.

“All boxing people should take something from what they’ve achieved.”