MANCUNIAN super-featherweight Joe Murray’s only career defeat in 16 professional fights so far came in September against Liam Walsh via majority decision. This Saturday (February 28) at London’s O2 Arena, the 28-year-old will attempt to wrest the British and Commonwealth titles from Walsh’s grasp in a rematch.
Your fight with Liam Walsh was a close one. Do you think you deserved to win?
I was happy with my performance – I definitely thought I won. I don’t think he can do anything different than what he brought to the first fight, whereas I think I can do a lot of things differently. My confidence is a lot higher now. That fight was my first at super-featherweight. I’ve been there now and got the t-shirt. He’s already beaten me and taken my ‘0’, now it’s time for me to take his. I’m ready to rip them titles off him.
Your only action since the Walsh defeat has come in the shape of a second-session stoppage of Gyula Tallosi in November. Ideally, would you prefer to be heading into the rematch with more rounds under your belt?
I’ve been kept out of the ring for quite a while, but I’m in boxing to box – I’ll fight anyone. I feel like a lot of boxers say they’ll fight anyone, but that’s not really the case. That’s why I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Walsh. He didn’t have to take the fight against me, so fair play that he has. However, he’s going to regret it, because I’ve matured into a bigger fighter now. The first time I fought him I was a lot smaller, as it was my first fight at super-featherweight. I feel stronger and faster now, so I can’t wait for the fight. I’m eager to make a statement.
After contesting nine bouts from 2009-2010, you have only fought seven times since 2011. Has this inactivity been very frustrating for you?
That’s just the way boxing is. I’ve never really had any injuries or anything like that. I could have fought at any time, as I’ve done a lot of sparring and never been out of the gym. Unfortunately, boxing’s more like a hobby than a job for me these days. I like the sport and I do it for fun. I want to be the best in the division, and that’s why I’m chasing the big fights.
Since the age of 13, I’ve constantly been training and wearing my body out, so I think having this rest has been a blessing in disguise in a way. I’ve been able to work on stuff in the gym without having to prepare for specific fights or opponents.
You are now trained by your brother and retired ex-world title challenger, John Murray. How has this been?
It’s been good. I’ll always trust my brother. He probably knows me better than anyone because we’ve sparred each other for years and years. I had a falling out with [former coach] Joe Gallagher, went to other gyms, but I just couldn’t settle. When I started working with John it was a lot better for me. If he thinks I’m slacking he’ll let me know. I used to be tense in the ring, but he’s got me to relax. He knows when I should take my time, when I should fire, and when I should hold. He’s helped me to mature into my style a lot more.
Are you satisifed with your progress so far as a pro, or did you expect to have achieved more by now considering you were an Olympian and World bronze medallist as an amateur?
Like I’ve said in the past, I wish I’d never turned pro. I’ve had 16 fights in six years, whereas I had 24 fights as an amateur in one year. I’m a boxer who likes to stay busy, I’m a boxer who likes to keep fighting. I’m a boxing man and I want to go out and fight. I wanted to fight Stephen Smith, I’ve been calling out everybody but no one’s come back to me. That’s why I’m grateful to Walsh for taking the rematch. I just wish professional boxers fought more regularly. I think the pros is more of a business than a sport. If your face fits for television, you’ll get on and you’ll get paid, and if it doesn’t, you’ll be left at the side. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be in the sport if I didn’t think I could go all the way. If I didn’t think I could reach the top, I’d just hang my gloves up.