LIAM GRIFFITHS is aiming to punch above his weight as Bognor’s newest professional boxer.
The 24-year-old orthodox puncher has signed a three-year contract with Portsmouth manager Michael Ballingall, who will also be his trainer.
It’s the end of a long road to the pros for Griffiths, who will make his pro debut in a welterweight fight at the Brighton Centre on Saturday, July 9.
He said: “This is something I have longed for since I was a little kid boxing as an amateur with Portsmouth Stacey ABC.
“I’m not making any wild claims about what I will achieve in the ring, but I do promise to give my very best every time I climb between those ropes.
“I want to help put Bognor on the sporting map and I will be working as hard as I can in training because I want my family, friends and the town to be proud of my efforts.
“I have taken on board a lot of advice from former professionals like Wayne Alexander, who was WBU light-middleweight champion, former British and Commonwealth heavyweight titleholder Julius Francis, and Ross Minter, who fought for the WBU weltwerweight title along the way.
“And Michael has excellent contacts and was in Rendall Munroe’s corner when he fought Toshiaki Nishioka for the WBC super-bantamweight title in Japan late last year so I know I am in good hands.”
Griffiths has left behind a career in the semi-professional ranks in which he enjoyed 35 victories, winning a belt at 10st 7lb, and seven draws in 73 fights.
He fought former professionals, amateur champions and ex-professionals including former Commonwealth Games star Tony Cesay, Darren Cook, brother of former WBO super-featherweight champion Nicky Cook, Danny Chamberlain, Terry Hammond, Steve Anning and Billy King.
Griffiths added: “I’ve travelled around the country on my own, often with just a few days’ notice, to places like Newcastle, Birmingham, Scunthorpe, and Cardiff but I mainly boxed in London and Essex.
“And this year I have won in Pompey, Scunthorpe, Northampton, Purfleet and Romford while getting a draw in Cardiff.
“Going professional is stepping up several levels, though. It just doesn’t compare to this and I will have to work even harder on the roads and at training in Michael Ballingall’s gym in Portsmouth to make sure I am in the best possible condition because I’m determined to do well.
“I would like to thank NJL Gollege Groundworks and Landscaping, VKs Gym in Bognor and Littlehampton ABC for their support but I’m looking for sponsorship to help with travelling to training and to buy the best equipment so the move to the professional ranks goes as smoothly as possible.
“Anyone who backs me can have their names on my shorts and shirts as I enter the ring.”
Potential sponsors or fans wanting tickets for Liam’s debut fight in Brighton should ring 07861 657452.