4 June 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Andy Murray tackles his biggest test to tonight in the same city as the Leinster Rugby teams sensational Heineken Cup triumph- and is predicting Ireland will once again be celebrating continental success after yet another dramatic decider.
The Cavan man plans to show there are two Andy Murrays operating at high sporting level by serving up victory over Gavin Rees in Cardiff and claiming the vacant European lightweight title. The former Irish and EU champion, who prepared for his EBU tilt with his first ever training camp in Connemara, claims his boxing and the Welsh mans fighter styles will gel to ensure a cracking Celtic clash.
Rees said it was going to be a stunner of a clash and a fight of the year contender. He is not far wrong, said Murray. Our styles are the perfect mixture for a great fight. Gavin’s such a hard-working boxer and a top performer, he fights in spurts so I’ll have to be busy the whole fight and keep him on the end of my jab.
Former world champion and pressure fighter, Rees will certainly ensure a tough shift for Murray, but the undefeated fighter believes his time spent in the west has seen his fitness levels rise north.
I have undergone my first ever training camp and it has proved ideal. I got away from everything and stepped it up a notch in every aspect. It’s been really tough but Ive reaped the benefit and I’m in great shape. I can’t wait to get in there and claim the title.
Irish boxings Quiet Man, who is planning to make all the right noises en route to a historic win in the Motor Point Arena, is considered an outsider ahead of the fight.
But Murray has odds defying history. He suffered from a debilitating hip condition known as Perthes in his childhood. However despite being in a cast for over a year battled on to recover and become one of Irelands most talented pros.
Due to the injury some claim he should rejoice in the fact he has made it this far, but the John Breen trained fighter is in Cardiff to win not just compete for the EBU lightweight John Murray vacated.
Rees is a good fighter. He is in his home city and he will be determined to put on a show. But I am ready for everything he will bring. I have been on the verge of a European title for a while now. The belt was held up but I knew my chance would come. Not many Irish fighters get this chance and I am determined to take it. It is all about the title for me. I dont want to fight for the European title I want to win it.
Paul McCloskey and Jamie Conlans stable mate, who will top his first ever Sky broadcast bill, is also undeterred by the fact he has to travel into the former Prizefighter winners back yard.
I dont mind travelling and I dont mind him having home advantage. I dont care if two people watch the fight once I win it. At the end of the day it will be me a Rees in the ring.
And by the end of the fight only one of them will be European Lightweight champion.