Murray ready, willing and able

05 May 2008 – by Mark Doyle

There are very few fighters who would undertake a run of three fights in the space of four weeks but then Andrew Murray is a little bit different from most fighters.

The Cavan native has learned the hard way just how tough a game boxing truly is and that if he is to make it to the top he cannot afford to let any opportunity to showcase his skills pass him by.

Hence the recent 28-day spell between March 22 and April 12 which saw him challenge and stop Leonard Lothian, Juris Ivanovs and Wellington De Jesus.

Most fighters would have been satisfied with their months work but not Murray. Despite winning all 12 of his professional fights to date, including an Irish title, his has been a career that has yet to truly take off.

Indeed, even that victory over De Jesus, a first-round stoppage, was a thoroughly unsatisfactory affair for Murray, with his Brazilian opponent deciding against fighting on after being on the end of borderline low blow.

With the fight being broadcast live on RTE, Murray had been hoping to put through his paces by a fighter who had been beaten just once previously and perhaps make a name for himself on a national level. Sadly, it was not to be, with the fight ending in rather farcical circumstances.

I was disappointed in that he effectively ended the fight himself but I suppose you have to be happy with any first-round stoppage, he muses in an exclusive interview with irish-boxing.com.

And I dont think he would have lasted too much longer anyway. Id already landed a few meaty shots and I could see that he didnt like it. I hit him with a few good body shots and he was wincing a lot.

I was hoping to get a few rounds under my belt, though, against an awkward southpaw like himself. And he could hit a wee bit. He was clubbing me around the arms and I could feel the power that he had.

So it was frustrating because the few times I have been high up the bill I didnt really get a good chance to show off my skills because the guys I were fighting were only in there to survive.

But this Brazilian guy had a good record and I thought he was going to test me. When someone comes to fight me, thats when you see the best of me. But its hard to look against a guy whos just trying to run away from you!

The bout with De Jesus left Murray with a familiar feeling of frustration, not least because he had not even supposed to have been fighting the South America, as the Cavan man explains.

I was first supposed to take on a French guy and I said, okay, no problem. But I got a phone call two days later and I was told that that fight was off.

Then they told me I was fighting an American and I said, grand, thatll do. Then, during the week before the fight, they said I was fighting a Brazilian.

So, I just said, look, Ill be there Friday and whoevers at the weigh-in, Ill fight him! I hadnt a clue who I was going to be fighting but I was ready to fight so it wasnt a problem.

Indeed, Murray shrugged off the uncertainty surrounding the identity of his opponent with the minimum of fuss. Why? Because he had been there before.

It has happened a good few times to me now so you just have to get on with it, he sighs.

Ive become used to have opponents pull out on me so you just have to be professional about it and be fit and ready no matter whos in the opposite corner.

Murray was a talented amateur who won three Irish senior titles. However, he was never bracketed in the same class as the likes of Andy Lee. As a result, when Murray turned pro after failing to qualify for the Olympics in Athens in 2004 he did so with little media fanfare.

Embarking on a career in professional boxing at the bottom rung of the ladder was tough.

Pro boxing is a bit sh*tty at the start, he says candidly. Its alright for someone with an Olympic medal, the red carpet is kind of rolled out for you straight away, but its hard graft for the rest of us.

At times you just get p*ssed off and say, why am I doing this? And you feel that you might be just better off getting a day job.

But if its something you truly love, something you really enjoy, you find it hard to give up training, even for a week.

Quitting would leave an awful void in your life if you gave it up and I dont think I could fill it. Theres times you get annoyed and frustrated but when you have time to think about, you know youd never walk away from it.

Its that genuine love of the game which drives Murray on. He certainly believes that he is now ready to make his big breakthrough.

He has, he freely admits, got unfinished business with James Gorman, whom he beat on points for the vacant Irish light-welterweight title after the fight was prematurely ended after Murray sustained a cut in the fourth.

However, while he would like to see another rematch arranged the proposed rematch which was set for March 22 was, almost predictably, scuppered when Gorman had to pull out through injury he is open to alternative bouts. Murray just wants to fight.

The Gorman fight was on the cards after he pulled out but now that Ive had a few fights Im not sure. If it comes off, it comes off; if it doesnt, it doesnt. Well have to see. If it was offered to me now, Id take it, he admitted.

But I dont even see my long-term future as a light-welterweight, to be honest. When I got the Irish title fight with Gorman, we matched it at a couple of pounds under the weight. The last couple of fights Ive been well under the light-welterweight limit. I see myself as a lightweight so Im not really sure how things will pan out.

My short-term goal, though, is to have a few Irish title fights. Im going on a fight-by-fight basis but I want to step up now. I want a meaningful fight, one that I know is going to take me somewhere Ive never been before. I want to have to go ten hard rounds. Thats what Im looking for.

Peter McDonagh and Oisin Fagan have both been mentioned theyd be good fights. Theyre fights Id be interested in. Theyd probably get a bit of TV coverage so why not? I need a big fight.

The people around me want to see me tested, too. They want to see what Im made of so I really think that next fight they get for me is going to be the type of fight that will move me to the next level. So I have to be ready.

One has no doubt that he will be.

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