John Murray: Mitchell or Rees would be massive
By Lee Collier
Sometime in early 2010 we will see John Murray (28-0, 26 KO’s) step up to the European stage when he takes on European champion Anthony Merzaache (16-5-3, 3 KO’s) in a fight for Merzaache’s European belt.
With both fighters ranked in the WBC’s top 10 it is hoped that the fight can be made an eliminator for the WBC title and Murray is confident he will announce himself to the bigger stage.
Murray beamed, “I am buzzing about this fight. It’s a fight I can win and win in style and I feel I will announce myself on the world stage. Merzaache is ranked 3rd by the WBC and I am ranked 8th so with us both being in the top 10 we hope to make it a final eliminator for the WBC title.
Murray is under no illusions in the task he faces in Merzaache. Whilst the Mancunian has stopped his last four opponents impressively, all in title fights the Frenchman has yet to be stopped and has shown that he can survive when in trouble like he did in the Thaxton fight.
“It will be harder fight than the Thaxton fight,” explained Murray. “I know Thaxton had him in all sorts of trouble in the first round, but Merzaache showed his cleverness to spit out his gumshield and buy those extra precious few seconds that helped him recover.
“He’s got determination because he came back and boxed really well. He was well down on the scorecard and pulled a win out of the bag away from home. Credit to him it shows how good and tough he is.
Murray finished by saying, “I am expecting a tough fight from him. He looks awkward from what I’ve seen but I feel I’ll be too big and too strong and too much on the rise at the minute for him and I’m expecting a win and a stoppage win.”
The Mancunian is also brimming with confidence from his own stoppage of Thaxton in his last fight to win back the British title he had lost on the scales against Scott Lawton.
“Thaxton came in at the top of his game, even though he was a little past his best. Thaxton saw it as his last chance and I completely nullified all his work I didn’t let him land any shots and I feel I won every round.
“I had a look at him in the first round but when I went to work I won the rounds clearly and the variety of shots and the way I used my boxing brain to get him out of there inside of four rounds was world class.”
Success for Murray could lead to a future domestic fight against Kevin Mitchell.
Whilst Murray is targeting the WBC belt, Mitchell became ranked 1 with the WBO after impressively beating Breidis Prescott for the WBO Inter-Continental title last weekend.
“I think it would be massive fight, if he goes on and wins a world title, and I win the European and possibly a world title in the next 12 months, then a Murray/Mitchell unification fight will be massive,” said an excited Murray.
“We can get back to the British glory days of Benn and Eubank and maybe Murray and Mitchell can be this generations Benn and Eubank. We both have exciting styles are both big punchers, and the winners will be the crowd.”
Murray was impressed with Mitchell and feels he is suited to the lightweight division. “I think Kevin is big enough for lightweight. I have known Kevin for years and always wondered how he made super featherweight so he’s big enough for lightweight,” stated Murray.
“We have had similar careers, we both turned pro at the same age, have had a similar amount of fights and it will be great if we can make this fight. I would rather it be when we are both world champions as it will be a bigger fight with more meaning.”
Murray seems to be a fighter in demand since the Thaxton fight, with recent Prizefighter winner Gavin Rees also targeting the British champion.
“Rees would be another great fight, I am looking at this European title and then a world title shot,” revealed Murray. “If Gavin Rees comes down to lightweight and does well then why not.”
“It would be another great fight, he is a come forward aggressive fighter who is busy just like me. This is the sort of fight I want, the young hungry fighter who comes to fight. I don’t want to fight people who want to run and fanny their way to victory. I want to be in the ring with real fighters and guys like Mitchell and Rees are fighters I would love to fight.”
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