John Murray: The Fighting Pride of Manchester, is the first real World Title contender to come out of the City since it’s favourite son Ricky Hatton. At only 25 years of age he had already managed to rack up 29 fights coming into the bout! All 29 ending victoriously and 17 of them coming by the way of knockout.
In the build up to the fight he had already stated that this would be his last challenge at European level before moving onto the World Stage to challenge for major honours, a long time coming some might say. Standing in his way though was the tough, durable Ukrainian; Andriy Kudriavtsev. Kudriavtsev came into the bout with a record of 41 fights including 34 wins and 7 losses, only one of which ended before the full twelve rounds, so not an easy task in the slightest for Murray.
As the first round got under way, Murray looked really impressive, throwing some nice combos and going to the body, nearly wobbling his opponent with a big shot to the body, but Kudriavtsev did well to withstand the pressure and see out the opening round.
The second was virtually identical to the first, it was all one-way traffic in Murray’s favour, keeping up the assault and looking to get Kudriavtsev out of there early on. His heart and chin was proving a problem for Murray though as his opponent didn’t seem to tire, he just kept on coming, walking through the big shots that Murray kept on throwing.
Murray adopted his typical ‘get hit but hit the opponent more’, walk through walls style, which I’ve started to notice more and more of late, is reminiscent of Ricky Hatton’s boxing style. This could be the reason Murray has such a good following, one that could emulate that of Ricky Hatton’s, only time will tell.
The fight really got going in the middle rounds, neither fighter backing down and both insisting on trading in the centre of the ring. Murray was still the better man, throwing the better punches and better combos but still, Kudriavtsev refused to give in. A real war! A rare treat for the watching fans and those watching on TV as both fighters scrapped and gave it their all.
Finally, in the eighth round, Kudriavtsev was showing signs of tiring from the constant assault and endless punches that Murray was firing at him, happy just to keep clinching Murray so as to lessen the assault. He somehow made it to the bell, but the ninth round was to be the end. Murray came out all guns blazing and fired more heavy punches, Kudriavtsev holding on for dear life. With around 30 seconds left of the round, Murray stalked his opponent across the ring, unleashing a big right hook that landed flush and dazed his opponent. This was the chance Murray had been waiting for and started to unload on Kudriavtsev. With no return fire the referee had no choice but to jump in and declare an end to the bout at 2 minutes 39 seconds, handing Murray win number 30!
In the post fight interview Murray again declared his intentions to make an assault on the World scene, mentioning names like Michael Katsidis, Juan Diaz and the 135 pound king, Juan Manuel Marquez. In the aftermath Humberto Soto has been mentioned as a possible opponent as has the winner of the up and coming megafight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Michael Katsidis. On a personal level I’d love to see Murray in with Michael Katsidis, both have aggressive, come forward styles and while it lasted, the fight would be a complete war! At this stage in his career I think Juan Manuel Marquez would be too much for him but names like Juan Diaz and Humberto Soto are realistic. Like I say though, only time will tell, all I can say is I’m really looking forward to his début on the world scene and hope he does Manchester and England proud.
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