Firestarter – Noely Murphy ready to shock ‘The Prodigy’

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Mick Conlan is not the only Irish boxer in action at The Garden this weekend.

The Belfast featherweight looks for payback for his shocking Olympic ‘loss’ to Vladimir Nikitin in the famous New York venue but, a few hours earlier, one of his countrymen will be looking to cause a shock of his own.

Fighting from the away corner on the Top Rank bill, Cork light welter Noely Murphy [14(2)-1(0)-1] takes on starlet Josue Vargas who boasts 15 wins, nine knockouts, and just one defeat via disqualification

21-year-old Vargas, nicknamed ‘The Prodigy’, is one of the hottest prospects in Bob Arum’s stable and is primed for a breakthrough. However, Murphy isn’t planning on being a gateway opponent.

An enormous underdog, the Macroom man is wholly confident he will pull off a major shock on the Crawford-Machine undercard.

“It will be massive for my career,” he tells

“It wouldn’t be a shock to me, and it won’t be a shock to me. It will be a great boost.”

“I think this one, I’m going to show a lot,” added Murphy before addressing the fact he will be in the away corner for the first time in his pro career.

“There isn’t a change in mindset, really. This is the first time it [being the B-side] has happened but I kind of look at every fight the same. Whoever you go in to fight, they’re trying to beat you – and when you go to fight, you want to win. It doesn’t make a difference to me to be honest.”

Murphy has spent much of the last five years living in New York but his preparations for this bout have taken place mainly in West Cork alongside Elite welterweight champ Christina Desmond at the Fr Horgan’s Gym.

“I’ve done my camp in Ireland,” he explained.

“It’s a bit different but I had been training [in Ireland] for a few weeks already when I got the call – so I said instead of moving back to New York I’d stay home. I’ve been training with Tom Power since I was 10, it’s a good match.”

“Christina was training for the Elites and, before that, she was going to the Worlds, the gym was hopping. It was nice to be home in familiar surroundings.”

Madison Square Garden won’t be familiar surroundings for Murphy in the sense that he has never fought there.

However, like most pro boxers, it will be an occasion he has envisioned many times.

The 25-year-old outlined how “this eclipses everything.”

“Crawford is the best pound-for-pound in the world and then you’ve Conlan who’s an Irish legend already. There’s other great fighters too, [Teofimo] Lopez, [Richard] Commey as well, and then, to top it off, it’s in The Garden, the Mecca of Boxing.”

“I can’t wait for it. I’ve done the Barclays before, but this is a level ahead. A level ahead of everything, really.”

“There should be a lot of people there. I know there’s a lot of people coming from Woodlawn where I live and there’s a few of my friends coming out from Cork too. I’ll have plenty of support there and, hopefully, a few people get in early too from Conlan’s fans!”


Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]