Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard urged young people in Blackpool to “follow their dream” when he visited the resort to meet young fighters.
The six times former world champion visited the Sharpstyle Boxing Gym in Bagot Street, South Shore, before officially opening a new sports bar.
He told The Gazette he wanted to inspire young people to take up the sport and was delighted to get that opportunity during his visit to Blackpool.
He said: “My visit has been extremely quick, but so beautiful. Meeting the fans has been great.
“I went to a boxing gym and these kids were just fantastic.
“It has been wonderful trying to inspire a group of kids about boxing and life.
“It is what I have tried for many years to do, it is about giving back.
“I had an incredible career – boxing has given me so much. But a champion is defined not just by what he does in the ring, but what he does out of the ring.”
Sugar Ray, 58, said he was pleased to see boxing back in the spotlight with big fights including the upcoming bout between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
He said: “In my era boxing was huge and it’s making its way back, it’s such an incredible sport.
“Boxing is really a poor man’s sport and that’s why I am here to encourage kids to keep alive their dreams – and keep following their dreams.”
The star refused to be drawn on who he thought would win the Mayweather- Pacquiao fight.
But he added: “The winner will be whoever dictates the tempo of the fight.”
Blackpool-based sports promoter Spencer Brown had brought the legend to Blackpool.
He said: “It is unbelievable to have Ray here because he is one of the true legends of boxing.
“We have been bringing him into the country for the last 10 years, and he said he would come to Blackpool as a favour for the kids.”
Sugar Ray also met fans at the New Albert sports bar which has been opened by the Ma Kelly’s group on Lytham Road.
He signed memorabilia including boxing gloves which are now on show at the venue.