Herbie Hide finally cleared his mind and opened a way forward by stopping Zambia's Joseph Chingangu at the Goresbrook Leisure Centre here last night.
In 2001 Chingangu knocked out Hide and since that night the loss has hovered above his head like an invisible wall to his ambitions.
Hide, 31, won and lost the World Boxing Organisation heavyweight title twice in the 1990s. However, on a low-key evening in Newcastle, Chingangu brutally put an end to Hide's resurrection.
Last night the relief was painfully clear on Hide's face as Chingangu slipped down for the third and final time in round one after a series of vicious punches. The fight had been unpleasant from the opening bell and Hide was extremely savage.
"All my rivals were praying that I lost and now they will start making excuses about not fighting me," said Hide.
The two men on Hide's agenda are Audley Harrison and the British champion Danny Williams. "A few years ago I used to pay Harrison and Williams good money to be my sparring partners. They never liked it. There is no way that they fancy fighting me. They are both too scared."