Liam Paro embarking on road to recovery against Montana Love after missing out on Regis Prograis

Liam Paro has revealed the heartache he felt at being denied his fight with Regis Prograis by injury.

The Australian had been scheduled to challenge Prograis for the WBC super lightweight title in June, until an injured Achilles tendon not only forced him to withdraw, but threatened his career.

He then watched as Prograis struggled to impress while outpointing Danielito Zorrilla, his replacement as Prograis’ opponent, and to the extent that it increased Paro’s conviction that had he been fit and in the ring that night he’d have won.

Prograis on Saturday defends the same title against Devin Haney at the Chase Center in San Francisco –and on the undercard Paro fights Montana Love, 28.

Victory would potentially keep him in contention to eventually earn the world title fight that has so far eluded him – and also come after the reminder he perhaps needed of his affection for the sport.

“Mate, it was disheartening,” the 27 year old told ProBox TV. “I went through hell and back. It was a very hard mental test. It’s your dream getting shattered – you think that’s it. There were times I didn’t know where I was – if it was going to come back, being an Achilles tendon – it’s a serious injury. I was glad I was around my loved ones and family at that time. It definitely helped me through. 

“It was very disappointing. That was what I’d dreamed of as a young kid – getting taken away by injury. But God has a plan and the world works in mysterious ways. It wasn’t my time – it’s in the past now and I’m just tunnel vision forward and I know I’ll get my shot.

“The time away made me miss boxing. Made me fall back in love with the sport. It’s got my mindset stronger, and I’m ready for everything.

“[The injury caused] blood, sweat and tears – it was disheartening. It still is my dream. For it to be so close and then taken, it was shattering. I’m just happy to be back. 

“I thought I was [in love with boxing] until it was taken from me. You don’t realise how much you love something until it’s taken from you, and it was taken from me in that fashion and it was so close to being a reality – to being my dream. That made me realise when I was forced away – when I was bed ridden; couch ridden – that I do love this shit and I can’t wait to be back.”

Asked if the injury had been severe enough to threaten his career, he responded: “One hundred per cent. It would have been. We got it at the right time. It could have been a very, very bad injury. If it was a full tear it would have been about a three-year turnaround and that’s pretty much my peak career – my prime time – in boxing gone. In six months, we’re back. We’re better than ever. There’s no niggling injuries, and we’re ready to go.

“We tried to spar two days after it happened, and I couldn’t even walk, but I was still in there trying to spar, because it’s my dream, I’d do anything. But we’d see the specialist and they said it’s not an injury you can take lightly. ‘You need it to walk.’

“It was horrible. It was swollen. That was another thing we didn’t know – the severity of it – until a few weeks later because there’s so much fluid around the swelling. We were still trying to push and did everything we possibly could to get in there, until the swelling come down and everyone realised there was a tear in the muscle there.

“Seeing Prograis fight on the night – he didn’t have his best performance – it was even worse having the hundreds of messages saying, ‘You would have beaten him’, so it all added. I’m just happy I’m back.

“That was the worst part. It wasn’t his night and I’d have easily won that fight. The hundreds of messages I got of people saying the same thing, and I already knew. It was crazy. 

“Definitely [I expect to hold talks about a title fight if I beat Love]. I’ve been in title contention for the last three or four years, so it’s only fair. It’s my time to shine. Eddie Hearn can get it done, for sure.

“This is another guy standing in the way of my dream. I’ve just got to go hard and prove that I belong at the top. He’s good, but I believe he’s a bit weak in the head and we’ve seen that in his last fight and I’m definitely going to test that. The going got tough and he ended up losing by disqualification [against Steve Spark] and got pretty dirty in there. We’re going to test everything he’s got.

“He’s a good boxer, you can’t take that away from him, but I feel like I’ve got better boxing ability.”