HUNDREDS of members of the travelling community are expected to pay their final respects to a title-winning amateur boxer who died earlier this month.

22-year-old Shane Thomas was killed when a van he was travelling in collided with a parked car on the evening of Monday, August 5.

Mr Thomas' funeral will be held at midday on Thursday, September 5 at Pontymoile Undenominational Christian Mission, before he is laid to rest at Llewyncelyn Cemetery.

Joe Thomas paid tribute to his brother, saying he was "one of the best boxers he knew”.

"He was really, really good,” he said. “He was one of the best boxers I knew.

"He was one of the most gifted boxers in the travelling community. He was fit and very strong. He got involved in boxing because it is big in our culture.

"Shane won so many competitions.

"He has another brother who is getting involved in boxing now. He is going to be the next Shane.”

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(The funeral of Shane Thomas, from Pontypool, has been arranged for Thursday, September 5)

He added: “The world of boxing and our gym has lost a talented boy. He will be missed a lot.”

Mr Thomas was a talented boxer, racking up an impressive collection of accolades, including one British title, five Welsh titles and four gold medals in the Pirkka Cup in Finland.

His first fight was at the age of just 11, and he boxed until he damaged his hand when he was 17, meaning he had no choice but to hang up his boxing gloves.

After his injury, he turned his attention to training the next generation of boxers at the Cwmbran-based Torfaen Warriors boxing gym.

Speaking following the crash, Simon Weaver, the owner of Torfaen Warriors boxing gym, recalled when he first met the late Mr Thomas where he instantly spotted enormous potential.

“Shane first started coming here when he was not very old,” said Mr Weaver.

“He went on to become a very good boxer. He was good from a young age. Shane went on to win lots of awards.

“He had a very promising career.

“He, alongside a few of others, trained his brother who has gone on to win his first British title.

“He was here most days of the week.

“He dedicated himself to train others in the sport.”

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(Floral tribues for Shane Thomas on Penywain Road, Wainfelin. christinsleyphotography.co.uk.)

The day after the fatal collision, people from all over the country gathered to pay tribute to Mr Thomas, and a floral tribute, complete with pictures, was laid on Penywain Road, in the town's Wainfelin area

Sean Feeley, who lives in Pontypool, described Mr Thomas as a "wonderful guy".

He said: “His death is a big loss for the travelling community.

“He was just a wonderful guy.”

Chris Dixon, vowed that Mr Thomas would "never be forgotten", saying: "You could not get a nicer guy than Shane.

"He was popular and we all loved him.

“He will never be forgotten by any of us.”

Another Pontypool resident, Glyny Worrall, recalled Mr Thomas as someone who "always had a good time".

He was a cracking guy," he said.

“He was loved by so many people.

“Shane always had a good time.”

Gwent Police are still appealing for anyone who witnessed the crash to contact them. The crash involved a white Renault Kangoo van and occurred at about 7.45pm on Monday, August 5.

Officers have said they would particularly like to speak to the driver of an orange BMW driver which was in the area at the time, and have also appealed for any dashcam footage which may help with inquiries.

Two people have now been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

A 27-year-old man from the St Mellons area has been released on police bail and a 24 year-old man from Pontypool has been released under investigation.

Anyone with any information should contact police on 101, quoting log 500 of August 5.