Former World title challenger John Murray says that beating Anthony Crolla will earn him the respect he believes his career deserves. The Mancunian pair meet at the Phones 4u Arena on April 19 as chief support to Scott Quigg’s WBA bantamweight title defence against Panamanian Nehomar Cermeno, but the Crolla-Murray match has the potential to upstage the main event, and is a highly anticipated domestic lightweight clash.
A rematch for Murray against Kevin Mitchell or a dust-up with former WBO champion Ricky Burns are both potential carrots being dangled in front of the Wythenshawe fighter, who began his career almost eleven years ago and has won honours at English, British and European level. His first loss came at the hands of Kevin Mitchell, and was followed by a brave but ultimately unsuccessful trip to Madison Square Garden to challenge for Brandon Rios’ WBA world title, which the Texan lost on the scales beforehand. Murray put in a brave shift, but was stopped in the 11th round.
In the seond fight of his comeback, Murray recorded a second round stoppage of Scot John Simpson on March 1st, flooring the rugged Scotsman three times in the round with body shots, but the 29 year old says the reaction to his win has frustrated him.
“I thought it was a great performance against John,” said Murray. “Simpson is a tough man and I don't think anyone else in the country could've beaten him the way I did, Anthony Crolla certainly couldn't, it would be a tough fight for him and although I would expect him to win I don't think he would've done it the way I did.
“I don't feel that I get the credit I deserve for the career I have had and I use that as a motivation, it's put a chip on my shoulder and I use that to go into the ring and take people out until I do get the credit that's due.
“Anthony is trying to break into the world scene and I am trying to get back there and land another World title shot so it's the perfect fight. I think the winner of the fight will get a World title shot, so the stakes are huge.
“The break recharged my batteries. I was a bit flat towards the back end of my career, the last four or five fights I was just coming forward with my hands high trying to wear my opponents down because I was a bit worn out. But I've had that break and I can see in training that I'm rejuvenated, fresher and sharper.”
Murray has crossed swords with former trainer Joe Gallagher in the build-up, as Gallagher originally deemed Murray unworthy of a shot at Crolla, preferring stablemate Scotty Cardle as an opponent for his former charge.
Murray believes the work he is doing with his trainer Michael Marsden will give him the edge over Crolla:
“I'm working hard and it's great training one-on-one with Mike. Joe has too many fighters in his gym and it's hard for him to give individuals the time that they need to really peak. I'm enjoying training and boxing again, and you could see on the scales before I boxed John that I was in good shape and getting the diet right.
“I've worked with Joe Gallagher for years but the relationship turned sour and we're not friends now. It's a shame, but it's done, and I've got to concentrate on the fight now. Anthony and I are good friends but we're not right now as we're training hard and thinking about hurting each other. We can have a pint after the fight but right now we're having evil thoughts about doing each other in.”
Also on the Manchester Arena bill, Olympic Gold medalists Anthony Joshua MBE and Luke Campbell MBE take their sixth pro contests, Josh Warrington defends his Commonwealth featherweight title, Tyrone Nurse meets Tyler Goodjohn for the vacant English llght welterweight strap, Hosea Burton is in the hunt for a first title, and there’s action for Grzegorz Proksa who faces Matthew Hall, Martin J. Ward, Stephen Foster Jr, Jack Massey, Liam Hanrahan and Sam Hyde.
Tickets are on sale priced £30, £40, £60 and £100 via www.phones4uarena.co.uk or by calling 0844 847 8000, while £150 VIP packages are exclusively available through www.matchroomboxing.com or by calling 01277 359 900.
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