The funeral will be held today for the young Magherafelt boxer who passed away suddenly in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Thomas Waites, who was 21-years-old won championship titles for Antrim and Ulster during his career in the ring.
Head coach at Belfast Holy Trinity club, Michael Hawkins snr said that the club had been left devastated by the news.
“Thomas joined us about three years ago and he was a very talented boxer. He was just a really pleasant lad who came from a lovely family. He was so happy and just a really good lad,” said Mr Hawkins.
“It was quite a journey for them to come up and down from Magherafelt but that’s how eager they were to improve and to succeed.
“Many of the guys who were around his age have really taken it bad. They were all good friends, as they travelled to competitions together, and they saw a lot of each other. It’s very sad.”
Members of Toome Boxing Club also expressed their shock at the death. Thomas had been a member of the club before joining Holy Trinity.
Coalisland boxer middleweight Conrad Cummings: “Sad to hear of another young death, an old club mate Thomas Waites. Deepest condolences to his family, gone far too young.”
Belfast super featherweight James Tennyson added: “Terrible news. Had the pleasure of sharing the ring in sparring and training with this fella. “Couldn’t meet a nicer guy. Gone far too young.”
Friends also shared memories of the young man as news of his death spread.
Melissa Burns said: “I actually cannot believe what I’m hearing. Such a lovely lad with so much going for him.
“From talking to you just last week and you being your bubbly joyful self to hearing the sad news this morning is heartbreaking. You never truly know what’s around the corner.”
And Kelvin Arnott added: “Can’t believe what I’m hearing this morning. Such a great guy, such a talented guy. Taken way too young.” His funeral is expected to be from his home, Manor Lodge, today (Thursday) at 10.15am for 11am Requiem Mass in Church of Our Lady of the Assumption.