British Lightweight Champ John Murray Stops A Brave Lee McAllister In 8 To Retain Title

by James Slater - Last night's main event at the Robin Park Arena, Wigan saw the undefeated John Murray of Manchester make a successful first defence of his British lightweight title, as he stopped a very game Lee McAllister of Edinburgh, Scotland in the 8th round. As the 26-year-old challenger was along the ropes, the two year younger champion landed a perfect left hand to the body, dropping the Scot instantly. Though McAllister beat the count, referee John Keane waved the fight off with exactly one minute of the 8th round gone. Murray improved to 26-0(14). The challenger, who will surely come again, fell to 27-2(5). Murray is the first man to have ever stopped McAllister..

The action really was quite excellent right from the start. The challenger began the fight by boxing smartly, looking classy and sharp as he used his quicker hands to out-box the physically stronger man. Murray was made to look somewhat slow in the first two rounds, as McAllister moved around the ring with grace. The champion was applying pressure, but it took him a while to achieve any real success.

The 3rd round was Murray's first really good session. Catching the challenger with a hard right hand to the head, Murray was getting closer and closer to making it his kind of fight. There were still fast shots being thrown by the Scot, but in the round's last few seconds Murray really began unloading. With McAllister in a corner, Murray went to work. Showing defiance, the 26-year-old Edinburgh man dropped his hands and smiled.

Murray was again on the front foot in the 4th, even switching to southpaw briefly while in close. McAllister, after having been given a telling off by his corner after the 3rd round, got back to his boxing in the 4th. Still, the challenger was holding his hands way too low. There was a touch of after the bell action at the end of the round, and both men were spoken to by referee Keane.

Murray was beginning to impose his strength to fine effect in the 5th, and McAllister's face was bloodied - the result of a damaged nose. Again showing defiance, even recklessness, the challenger was practically letting the champion hit him! Of course, Murray obliged, and had a very good round.

McAllister was still able to throw crisp shots in the 6th, and he was also moving well - until the stronger fighter in Murray got in and let his own hands go. A great fight was going on in front of an appropriately vocal crowd. Both men were taking shots, and a low blow warning was given to the champion near the end of the round.

Murray was chopping away at his man in the 7th, roughing McAllister up some also. Both men were marked up by now - Murray, who had entered the fight already carrying a swelling above his right eye, was reddened below his right eye, and McAllister had his nose damage. Some more hard body shots were landed by Murray and a real war was shaping up.

The end came suddenly in the 8th. With McAllister on the ropes, Murray let loose with a peach of a left hand to the midsection and down went the Scot. Bravely he beat the count, but Keane had seen enough. Murray was the stoppage winner in a very good fight.

Afterwards, both men were full of respect for the other, praising their respective efforts. However, one man the victorious Murray had nothing good to say about was Amir Khan, a fighter he says he has wanted to face for the longest time. In the post-fight interview, Murray said Khan and his people have never offered him and his team a fight, but that if the match-up did occur he would "knock Khan out in two rounds no problem."

Sadly, with Khan going in another direction - namely into a huge fight with the great Marco Antonio Barrera - the two seemed destined never to meet. This is a shame, because, as he proved once again last night, John Murray is never in a bad fight.

Article posted on 18.01.2009

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