Andrew Murray a fighter even before he donned the Gloves
Even before Andrew Murray put on a pair of boxing gloves it was obvious he was a true fighter. The Cavan man is the current Irish Light Welterweight champion and one of the country’s hottest boxing prospects but there were few signs in Murray’s childhood that a career between the ropes lay in store..
Article posted on 12.03.2008
His early years were blighted by Perthes disease, a degenerative hip condition that left him wheelchair bound for extended periods. However Murray was transfixed by the epic battles between the likes of Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn on his TV screen and he was desperate to step between the ropes himself.
However Murray’s notions were discouraged by his doctor who insisted that if he boxed he would end up crippled for life before he reached 20. The determined youngster ignored his advice and joined Cavan boxing club. Now 25 Murray is unbeaten in 9 pro fights and a reigning Irish Champion.
He will put his Light welterweight title on the line on March 22nd when he defends against Belfast’s James Gorman on the Ladbrokes.com Fight Night at the National Stadium in Dublin. The contest is the chief supporting bout to the clash between Irish middleweight champ Matthew Macklin and former World Champion Yori Boy Campas.
Murray though will be determined to steal the spotlight in his Irish title rematch with Gorman. The two men clashed for the first time last December when they met at the Kings Hall. Murray emerged victorious but he wasn’t particularly satisfied at the outcome given the circumstances of the win.
A clash of heads left Murray with a nasty gash over his right eye and unable to continue in the fourth round. Under Boxing Union of Ireland rules the decision went to the referee’s scorecard and Murray was awarded the win but he admits it was something of a hollow victory.
“When you win you want to win in style so to win the way I did took a bit of the shine off it,” said Murray. “You never want to win a fight on cuts so I still don’t class myself as the champion yet. Hopefully I can beat Gorman in Dublin and leave no doubts this time around.”
Murray is probably the quietest, most unassuming professional boxer you could ever meet. In a sport often dominated by hype and hysteria the Cavan man is refreshingly understated. Regarded as one of the best kept secrets in the UK and Ireland Murray is more than happy to let his first do all his talking. His amateur accomplishments certainly speak volumes for his professional prospects.
A 3 time Irish Senior Champion Murray was also a fixture on the International amateur circuit winning numerous Gold medals for Ireland at Multi Nations events.
His amateur coach Brian McKeown remembers Murray’s first day in the gym as an 11 year old. “He was tall and gangly and you could see he clearly had a problem with his leg. He didn’t strike me as being special but what soon became apparent was how determined and dedicated he was. He actually lost his first fight but by the end of that season he was Irish Champion and he went on to win another 3 on the trot. In fact he was unbeaten for 4 and a half years in the amateurs.”
Murray took some impressive scalps in the unpaid ranks including current British Light Middleweight champion, Gary Woolcombe, who he stopped in 2 rounds. He also beat former British title challengers Femi Fehintola and Ricky Burns as well as English amateur star Michael Grant.
After the frustration of failing to qualify for the Athens Olympics in 2004 Murray decided to switch to the pro ranks and relocate to London under manager Michael Helliet.
“Andrew’s problem since going pro is that he’s been too good for his own good,” said McKeown. “He’s sparred the best in the U.K. in the gyms there and everyone there knows how good he is so nobody wants to fight him. Thankfully the professional boxing scene is very healthy in Ireland now so Andrew has a chance to make a name for himself back at home again.”
Certainly boxing in Cavan is on a real high right now with McKeown’s latest protégé John Joe Nevin having qualified for the Olympics.
“Andrew’s a real inspiration for all the kids boxing in Cavan," said McKeown. "He’s out running at 5 in the morning, into work for 7 and then he trains at the gym in the evening. He’s very popular in the area and travels around all the clubs here giving training sessions and helping out wherever he’s needed. You never want to look too far ahead but I think over the next 12 – 18 months with the right fights Andrew can start fulfilling the potential we all know he has.”
The Ladbrokes.com Fight Night also features Cuban heavyweight sensation Mike Perez and the pro debut of Irish amateur heavyweight champion Ian Tims amongst other bouts.
Tickets for the Ladrokes.com Fight Night priced from €60 are on sale now from Ticketmaster.ie and all usual outlets.
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