John Murray Stops A Brave Andriy Kudryavtsev In 9th-Round, Retains European Lightweight Crown In A Thriller!

By James Slater - Last night in Wigan, U.K, unbeaten British warrior John Murray of Manchester successfully retained his European lightweight belt for the first time. Eventually halting an incredibly tough and brave Andriy Kudryavtsev in the 9th-round of a real battle, the 25-year-old improved to 30-0(18). The 33-year-old from Ukraine, who was pulled out by referee Manuel Oliver at 2-mins and 39-seconds of the 9th after taking a big right hand to the head, is now 34-7(15).

Beforehand, many good judges said out loud that last night’s fight would be a Fight of The Year candidate, and they were not wrong. Both men gave their all, and the action was intense, brutal and thoroughly engrossing..

The start was cautious, from both guys, content as they were to have a look at each other behind a tight guard. The two men exchanged left jabs, but then Murray opened up in the last 45-seconds of the opener; landing shots to head and body.

Much the faster man, Murray, also the British 135-pound champ, unloaded some fast shots with both hands in the 2nd. Kudryavtsev was as game as they come, though, firing back. It was clear already that this one was gonna be a tough affair for both guys!

Murray landed more lefts and rights to the head in the 3rd, but the visiting fighter had some success of his own in this round - scoring with one right hand to the head in particular. The action had warmed up now and a war was shaping up. I gave all three of these rounds to the champion.

And though Kudryavtsev failed to win too many rounds in terms of points, he gave Murray all he could handle at times, testing the defending champ’s mettle. Murray worked hard in the 4th, having to dig in and trade with the older man. Neither man was willing to give an inch.

Murray landed more chopping body shots in the 5th, but now it was Kudryavtsev who was coming forward. The 33-year-old also landed a good right hand to the head, only to see Murray come firing back with an uppercut. A very close round.

For me, Kudryavtsev was having his best spell of the fight in the 5th and 6th-rounds. I gave him the 6th, as he was really coming on strong, with Murray’s pace having dipped a little, even though the Manchester warrior was still getting home with body shots.

Murray was warned for a low blow in the 7th, but he was boxing better now, picking his shots well as Kudryavtsev again pushed forwards. Murray poured it on in the last 30-seconds of the round, putting yet another one in the bank.

Amazingly, considering the number of hard punches landed on both sides, neither guy was cut or too badly marked up. Having said that, Murray was sporting a nastily-swollen forehead, and had the fight gone on any longer this could have been a problem. But the challenger’s stubbornness was finally beginning to fade in the 8th, his head snapping back as the champion banged away at him.

By the 9th, Kudryavtsev was definitely unravelling, and the end was not far away. A left uppercut to the chin seemed to drain the challenger, and his strength had clearly dipped. Sensing this, Murray went for it with both fists. Kudryavtsev was being pushed all round the ring and Murray was cracking him with hard shots. Finally, after a right hand staggered the Ukrainian, referee Oliver dived in, just as Murray fired in a couple more head shots.

Kudryavtsev didn’t look too happy about the stoppage, and maybe a few fans will dispute the stoppage, but Murray was undeniably well on top.

Now looking to the future, Murray said post-fight that he is ready for the world’s best. Asked if he’s interested in the Victor Ortiz fight that has been offered to him for December, Murray replied that he is indeed. Will the 25-year-old crowd-pleaser make the move up to 140-pounds?

Article posted on 26.09.2010

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