LIAM GRIFFITHS walked into the lion’s den and ripped up the script to record a shock win in Swindon.
The Bognor battler surprised Danny O’Reilly on his professional bow with a comprehensive 60-54 points success.
Griffiths, nicknamed Bucko, has picked up a fearless reputation in his time in the paid ranks as he provides the opposition for up-and-coming talents looking to move towards title contention.
But he pulled off an upset against O’Reilly, with the 25-year-old dominating from the outset.
Griffiths had to deal with a lot of flak, with the home crowd cheering their man on.
He silenced them, however, as he bullied O’Reilly on to the back foot in the sixth rounder.
It soon became apparent a win was in sight, but Griffiths knew he couldn’t step off the gas, with the fear any close decision would go against him.
The verdict was a fair reflection of how the action unfolded, however, as he was given every round.
Trainer Michael Ballingall couldn’t hide his delight at the likeable Griffiths’ success.
He said: ‘It was a buzz.
‘Liam has been training really hard and done a lot of strength work.
‘That really showed in his performance.
‘We were booed into the ring and made to wait for O’Reilly to make his entrance.
‘But Liam claimed the ring and as soon as the bell rang he went for it.
‘That soon won his opponent’s respect and he was backed up.
‘You could see he was thinking “this isn’t supposed to be happening”.
‘His performance silenced the crowd and Liam didn’t let him off the hook.
‘It was a nervous wait for the decision because you never know when you go away.
‘But it was great to get the win and it’s a big boost for Liam.’
The fact Griffiths will tonight have his 22nd professional contest since turning pro 14 months ago – against Matthew Wilton in Belfast – tells you all you need to know about his have-gloves-will-travel mentality.
Ballingall said: ‘Liam’s career has been about survival against the odds. He gets in there with champions and has the mentality that they will not stop him.’
– JORDAN CROSS