Lewie O’Mara has been praised for proving the doubters wrong with his boxing emergence.
The light-welterweight goes in search of his fourth professional win next month – despite never lacing a pair of gloves until two-and-a-half years ago.
O’Mara has found direction in the sport, despite having no experience at all in the amateur ranks.
The 25-year-old instead had a number of contests in the unlicensed game, before turning over as a pro last year.
Many would have been dubious about the Portsmouth boxer’s chances of having any success, given that background.
But he has built up a quick-fire 3-2 record in a five-month period, boxing twice in Birmingham and in Northern Ireland in that time.
His trainer, Michael Ballingall, is full of praise for the fearless attitude and dedication O’Mara has shown.
Ballingall believes he has silenced the knockers with his progress.
‘Lewie had never boxed two-and-a-half years ago,’ said Ballingall.
‘People said he couldn’t do this and that, but now he’s had five fights and won three of them.
‘He’s a professional boxer – he’s shown people he can do that.
‘He’s gone away and boxed in Birmingham and Ireland. He’s getting out there.
‘Negative talk just seems to drive him on.
‘He’s never had an amateur bout. Lewie had 14 white-collar fights then gave it a go.
‘He’s trained with the pros and been tough enough to do it.
‘There has been a big improvement in him.
‘He went to Ireland and boxed a 10-0 lad.
‘He’ll get in the ring and say “let’s do it”.
‘If everyone had the same attitude in the gym as Lewie O’Mara, I’d have a good life training people.
‘He hasn’t listened to others putting him down and has really given it a go.’
After finding himself on the wrong side of the law in recent years, O’Mara has got his life back on track.
And Ballingall explained boxing has had plenty to do with him staying on the straight and narrow.
Now he boxes in Belfast on October 4 against unbeaten Irishman James Fryers.
Ballingall knows the most improved boxer in his gym won’t be overawed by the test.
‘Lewie has been in trouble before,’ he added.
‘He had anger issues and I think he’s got an addictive personality.
‘But since he’s turned over, Lewie’s the most improved boxer in the gym.
‘He trains four or five times a week and works hard.
‘He knows the only way to get by is to be in the gym all the time.
‘He works as a roofer, trains in the gym for an hour-and-a-half and eats healthily.
‘There’s no doubt he’s a tough lad – and he isn’t frightened of anyone.’