Boxing Snippets

Ace ref to take charge of big Lerena bout

Mike Griffin may be a name known mostly to boxing insiders, but he ranks among the sport’s most accomplished officials. He will be the third man in the ring at Emperors Palace on Saturday night when Kevin Lerena fights Senad Gashi for the WBC interim bridgerweight title.

Griffin was in the thick of the action when world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury nearly came unstuck against Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia recently. Years before, in 2019, he was the referee when Andy Ruiz famously knocked Anthony Joshua out in New York.

A former amateur from Canada, he has been involved in many high profile bouts, including those of Vitaly Klitschko, Deontay Wilder,  Naoya Inoue and the famous Cotto-Martinez fight in 2014. He also handled Canelo Alvarez against John Ryder earlier this year.

“It’s gratifying for the WBC to appoint an official of this stature,” said promoter Rodney Berman. “He’s among the best in the world.”

Indeed, several years ago former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew lauded him for stopping his 2013 fight with Adonis Stevenson.

Confused, Griffin asked him to explain. The Briton said that he had been hit with a shot he hadn’t seen and was on unsteady feet. But for Griffin’s intervention, he’d have taken another heavy punch while unguarded and potentially been badly damaged.

“You saved my life that night,” Bellew told him.

With almost 400 bouts under his belt since 1997, Griffin is one of the busiest officials on the international circuit.

On nights off you may find him at the Honey Martin, the popular bar he owns in in Montreal. He supports the local indie music scene and is married to a popular artist whose work hangs on the surrounding walls.

A man of many interests and, clearly, a man on top of his game.

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