10-Count Quiz: John Murray
If you thought boxing fanatics were sitting around twiddling their thumbs in Manchester since the Pacquiao-enforced ring sabbatical of hometown hero Ricky Hatton, then you would be wrong.
One man keeping them busy is European lightweight champion John Murray. And if the old adage of history repeating itself rings true then the 30-0, hard-hitting pressure fighter will be keeping them away from home as well in the coming years.
Having just signed to Frank Warren, Murray sets off on the trail for world glory this weekend when he defends his European strap against Spain’s Karim El Ouazghari in London’s York Hall. The Mancs will be used to the mileage but the coverage will certainly be new to Murray. So we helped get him ready for things to come with our infamous 10-Count Quiz…
1. How did you get into boxing?
My mum and dad were always big into boxing and growing up I was always sparring with my brother. I ended up going to the gym when I was about 14 and I haven’t looked back since.
2. Who was your boxing hero?
Growing up it was people like Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn because they were the stars I grew up watching on TV. But as I got into boxing and got a bit older, and started looking back at previous champions, I really started to like Julio Cesar Chavez. I loved his style and the way he broke fighters down, I used to try and mimic him in the ring.
3. What was the greatest era of boxing?
I reckon the mid to late 80s with Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran. There seemed to be a lot more fighters back then and good fights. If you were world class back then, then you probably would have been a world champion in today’s era as there were fewer straps those times.
4. What would you change in boxing?
I’d make sure there was only one world champion at each weight. It would make it a lot more interesting and give the world champion a greater status, as he would be the only one at that weight. It can become a bit confusing for general boxing fans when there are three or four people at the same weight all with world titles. I’m a boxer and even I get a bit confused at times, especially with all these silver champions and the super champions, it doesn’t make sense to me and its my sport!
5. Pick a fantasy fight, any boxers from past or present?
I’d like to see Sugar Ray Leonard against Floyd Mayweather. And I’d have to go Leonard for the win.
6. Greatest boxing film?
I would have said Raging Bull but The Fighter came out and it’s really good. I’ve watched it about four times already, so we’ll see if it stands the test time. Before I was pro I remember watching him with my brother against Shea Neary and becoming a fan. I was watching the film and can see he’s from a bit of a crazy family, which is not that dissimilar from myself so I could really relate to it and just enjoyed it.
7. What’s been the greatest night of your life?
It was my 13th fight, over at the St. Pete Times Forum in Florida. It was on the undercard of Robin Reid vs Jeff Lacy and it was in front of a packed out arena. There must have been 40,000 people there and I put on a good display, and had the crowd cheering me to the rafters after the six-round fight. It was a great buzz! I’ve had title fights since but it was the first time I had fought in front of a big audience and it just inspired me massively.
8. Before a fight, how do you get in the zone mentally?
During training I try not to think about the fight too much. Obviously I’ll watch tapes and discuss tactics, but I switch off from it until fight night. Then again in the changing room I’m always cracking jokes and don’t tend to switch on till I’m lacing my boots or my bandages are wrapped and its time to start warming up. But once its time to switch on, I switch on, and as I’m walking out to the ring and I hear the noise of the crowd, that always gets me hyped up.
9. What would be your perfect after fight blow-out?
On the night of the fight I go home and just chill out and relax cos obviously with the adrenalin going through the fight you tend to crash a bit after it, your energy levels tend to be a bit low. But I go out after that and celebrate with my mates on a Sunday; just a couple of drinks nothing too wild. Later in the week I’ll go to my trainer Joe Gallagher’s house and we’’ go over the tape of the fight.
10. What’s the dream?
The ultimate dream is obviously winning a world title and having my name on the main bill in Las Vegas. I’ve boxed over there twice now on two undercards and would love to top the bill one day myself.