14 April 2011
Undefeated Irish star Andy Murray will take to the ring at the MEN Arena in Manchester on Saturday night in a supporting role to gymmate Paul McCloskey who will be bidding to capture the WBA Light Welterweight title from Amir Khan.
McCloskey will be hoping to upset local star Khan while Murray will also be in the away corner when he takes on Blackburn’s Dezzie Higginson. A win for the Cavan man would see him take his perfect professional record to 24 and 0, just one win away from equalling the longest ever winning streak in Irish professional boxing, that of Belfast bantamweight Johnny Caldwell who was 25 and 0 before suffering his first defeat in a World title fight against Brazilian great Eder Jofre in 1962.
Murray, who is now rated the number 1 challenger for John Murray’s European Lightweight title says he will be looking to impress on a big night for the Irish in Manchester. “It’s great to be fighting on such a big card and hopefully it will be a great night for Irish boxing with Paul McCloskey taking on Amir Khan in the main event, said Murray. Another Irish fighter, Jamie Kavanagh will also be on the bill so there will be huge Irish support in the MEN Arena and hopefully we can give them something to shout about.
“Paul’s in great shape for this. I’ve done some rounds with him in sparring and he’s very, very sharp. He is really up for the fight, it’s a massive chance for him and he is very confident of doing the business against Khan and I think he is in with a great shot.”
Murray is equally confident about his ability to ‘do the business’ in Manchester but he says he won’t be underestimating his opponent. “I’m familiar with Higginson, he turned pro around the same time as me and there was talk of us fighting earlier in my career but it never came off. He’s on a good run of form since joining Ricky Hatton’s stable and he’s won 10 of his last 12. I’m sure he sees this as a big opportunity for him and it’s effectively a home town fight for him so I don’t expect anything easy over there.”
Murray watched reigning European Champ John Murray’s most recent defence, a hard fought points win over Spain’s Karim El Ouazghari earlier this month and that fight did nothing to diminish his belief that he can rip the title away from his Manchester namesake.
“I think it was a case of John grinding out the win last time out but he admitted himself that it wasn’t a vintage performance. I don’t think he was firing on all cylinders that night, he didn’t appear to have his usual aggression but I’m sure he will up his game again next time around.
“I rate John Murray as a very good fighter but I certainly don’t have any fear about getting in a ring with him. To prove you’re the best you have to go out there and beat the best and I wouldn’t be in boxing if I didn’t think I was good enough to win the major titles. I’m number one in Europe now and it’s great to get that kind of recognition. Murray has to deal with his mandatory defence against Gavin Rees first but as long as I keep winning then I will be next in line and I’ll be ready to grab that chance with both hands when it comes along.”