Murray named ‘Young Boxer of the Year’ – Will campaign at lightweight
29.09.06 - Hennessy Sports promoted John Murray, who will now campaign at lightweight, has been voted by the Boxing Writer’s Club as ‘Britain’s Young Boxer of the Year’.
Article posted on 29.09.2006
“This means everything to me,” said the 21-year-old on hearing the news. “It’s a very prestigious award that is voted for by boxing people who watch the sport week in, week out, year in, year out. They can’t be fooled. They know their stuff and it’s nice to have your achievements recognized.
“I like to go about things quietly, but it’s good to get a pat on the back. It’s a nice reward for the people around me as well like my trainer Joe Gallagher, who has been with me since day one, and promoter Mick Hennessy
“I think Joe is more chuffed than I am! I think he’s pleased that the 12 months of me bending his ear about not winning it last year and being runner up are over.
“Many great fighters in the past have won the award and I am confident I can do it justice by going on to win a genuine world title.”
“We are very proud of John,” added Hennessy. “This is a great honour to win and one that he fully deserves. It’s great that he has finally got the recognition his performances have warranted.”
Murray wins the award - in honour of Geoffrey Simpson - after becoming the first ever British fighter to win a WBC World Youth Title.
He made his first defence earlier this month, out-pointing the tough Moebi Sarouna on the undercard of Junior Witter’s world title win over DeMarcus Corley at the Alexandra Palace.
Whilst that victory was officially at lightweight, Murray came in just over the limit for super featherweight - the division he always intended to campaign in at Championship level.
He will, however, now remain a weight up.
“I originally fought for the WBC Title at lightweight for the opportunity,” explained Murray. “I always thought I was a super featherweight.
“But Mick always had concerns about me getting down because I am bull strong and still big at lightweight.
“That’s why for this fight against Sarouna, as an experiment, I came in only a quarter of a pound over 9 stone 4lb. We wanted to see if I would fire on all cylinders as a super feather.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t myself. I did everything properly with Joe to lose the weight, everything we did was spot on, but I was flat; my usual snap wasn’t there.
“My best wins have been when I was heavier. When I won in America and Canada, (against Johnny Walker and Tyrone Wiggins respectively), I was at around the lightweight limit. It was the same when I won my title by beating Nacho Mendoza – my best performance.
“For that reason I have decided with Mick and Joe to fight at lightweight.”
As such, Murray has withdrawn from his scheduled final eliminator for the British super featherweight Title against Ricky Burns next month.
He will, however, still have plenty of options, not least with the belt that he already holds.
“There is every reason for John to hold on to his WBC World Youth Title,” explained Mick Hennessy. “It’s prestigious, designed to groom outstanding prospects for full WBC honours and he is very proud of his status. There are also some great defences we can line up for him. John would still be happy to fight Ricky Burns if he wanted to step up to lightweight and challenge him for the title.
“But the best fight out there would be against Amir Khan.
“I understand Khan is looking to fight for a title before the end of the year. Like John, he wants to win world titles in the future and according to a lot of people he will achieve that.
“This fight would give Khan the opportunity to prepare for world honours by fighting for the Youth version of the most prestigious title in the sport. It also gives him the opportunity to prove himself against a fellow ‘Young Boxer of the Year.’”
“It’s a fight that makes sense and I know its one that John wants.”
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