15 January 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Quality sparing sessions with European champion Willie Casey and continental contender Patrick Pajo Hyland have inspired Irish amateur boxing legend Paul Griffin to make a pro comeback at 40.
The Drimnagh native, who won gold and bronze in consecutive European Senior Championships in the early 90s, has been buoyed by the fact he has performed admirably against two of the biggest names in Irish punching. As a result the charismatic and stylish pugilist will celebrate what he joking labels his “21st comeback on Dolphils City West Sunday Matinee show on January 30 and is hoping victory will provide the key that will open the door to more 2011 fights.
Griffin, who shared a stable with Prince Naseem Hamed as a pro, claims his body isnt aware of how old it actually is, stressing he is in top condition.
Speaking to Mirror Sport the fighter, who some believe failed to fill his professional potential, claimed that despite entering his fourth decade he is delighted to be back in the game he loves.
I love the game and it is hard to stay away, Griffin told Mirror Sport. I had great spars with Willie Casey, who I will be sparring as he prepares for his World title fight, and Pajo Hyland in recent months and I held my own. That does give you confidence and nice to see I can still perform.
“The last time Pajo beat me I hadnt trained before hand and I had to drop serious weight in a short amount of time. I am fit as fiddle to be honest. In fact the problem for me now is I am training to hard. I need to pull the reins in a little and calm down. I am a really looking forward to making my 21st comeback.
The four time amateur featherweight champion, whose last bout was ironically a disappointing showing against Hyland, has no long term boxing goals but did point out he has never shirked a boxing challenge. Griffin, who has been labelled by some as the most naturally gifted punchers to come out of Ireland, will take it one fight at time but did hint he could would be open to an Irish title fight with fellow comeback veteran Oisin Fagan.
I am just going to get back to basics and see how far it takes me. I would like to give it another year. At my age I cant really look long term. I will see how this fight goes and take it from there, Griffin addressing the fact Fagan mooted a title fight between the pair.
I have never turned down a challenge. I have always said I would fight anyone and I proved that in the past. My career had to many breaks and didnt go how it should have to be honest, but I am delighted to be back and if the 30th goes well I will consider any challenge.
Griffins return has excited boxing purists and the Dubliner (24-4) believes he still has the talent to put bums on seats before getting them off them by making people rise to their feet with his exciting style.
Without sounding arrogant I believe I am good to watch. I am not as fast on my feet but I still have fast hands. I cant box until I am 50 but I can put on a show for the next year.