Australia’s Liam Paro rose from humble beginnings, in a nation not at the time known for dominating world boxing.
Times have changed, many would dispute whether for better or worse, however in Paro’s case, it most definitely appears to be for the better.
The 26-year-old sits at number one in the latest World Boxing Organisation ratings, with a super-lightweight world title shot imminent.
There are many different elements to the equation, however. Does Josh Taylor move up? Does Jose Ramirez fight Jose Zepeda, and what happens to Jack Catterall?
Paro examined the current super-lightweight scene in detail, starting with current undisputed champion Josh Taylor.
“When you’re fighting for the world title you want to be the best. So you have to fight the best,” He said. “Is Josh Taylor arguably one of the best at 140? Absolutely. He’s a great fighter, and he has all the belts. If I got that chance to take them off him I’d be more than happy to take that chance.
“Did Catterall beat Taylor? I think so. Catterall should be the undisputed world champion right now. It’s another case of ‘That’s Boxing’, but for better or for worse that could have a massive impact on my career in the next six months.
“If Taylor stays at 140, I’m happy to travel. I’ve traveled before, I’ll travel again if I have to. A ring is a ring. I showed I can go away from home, take myself out of my comfort zone and come back from adversity. If I have to do that again, I will.”
Other elements to the 140-pound equation come in the shape of Jose Ramirez and Jack Catterall, and Paro weighed in on the possible eventualities of facing either of the two highly regarded super-lightweight stylists.
“Jose Ramirez is a great fighter. If Taylor moves up, and I get ordered to fight Ramirez, I’m all for that fight,” Paro stated. “I feel that I’m better when I have a fighter come at me and not stand off and look to box. Ramirez will come straight at me aggressively as he does, and that will allow me to show off my skillset on a stage that I’ve not done before.
“I respect Ramirez and his story. He’s from humble beginnings like me, and he’s come up in life the hard way. You get your strength in boxing from your experience, whether that be in boxing or in life. It’s fighters with stories and experiences that create memorable showdowns.”
Jack Catterall’s controversial result against Josh Taylor is still a talking point in boxing circles, and if Jose Ramirez chooses to fight Jose Zepeda for the WBC 140lbs title, a fight with Catterall becomes a reality.
“Jack Catterall should really be unified world champion. That’s the reality of that situation and it’s a shame he isn’t because I would have had a chance to fight for all the belts,” Paro said. “Eventually, that would be the plan after becoming world champion, but it would have been nice to fight for all the belts.
“If I have to fight Jack to become world champion then so be it. It’s a great fight and one I’d be confident going into no matter where it would take place. To hold a win over a fighter considered the number one in the division by many would legitimise me as the best world champion out there if the titles were to break up.”
In preparation for his fights, the Australian has moved the most part of his training camp to be based in Las Vegas, using the epicenter of boxing as his base to hatch plans to capture a world belt alongside his team at Di Carlo Boxing and ACE Boxing.
Paro opened up about the decision to relocate for training camps to be based in the Nevada desert.
“It was a decision that we as a team knew had to be made to reach the level I know I have the ability to get to. I have to say a massive thank you to ACE Boxing, and my family and sponsors who have supported this journey.
“Las Vegas is the best place in the world for boxing. It has everything you want in one place. From the climate to the sparring and facilities, you get it all in Las Vegas.”
During his time training Stateside, Paro has also shared rounds with now-unified world super-featherweight champion, Shakur Stevenson.
“Shakur was probably the best I’ve been in with. He’s a tremendous talent. You can easily argue he’s above world level, he’s on that elite pound-for-pound level that few ever get to. I wasn’t surprised at how easily he handled a great fighter in Oscar Valdez
“It’s being able to spar the likes of Shakur Stevenson, that was the motivation to make the move to Las Vegas. It’s those spars, under the pressure in the gyms, that get you ready for the big nights.
“This is something that isn’t available in Australia, but it’s the groundwork for me to bring big nights to Australian boxing in the future against the big names. A world title defence against the likes of Teofimo Lopez in Australia? It’s up to me to make these fights a reality, and that only happens by becoming world champion at the first attempt.”