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20 NOVEMBER 2018

Where am I? Home Columns Paul Upham

Beating Green is another goal for Murdoch to achieve

Paul Murdoch
Paul Murdoch

By Paul Upham: For many Australian fans, light heavyweight Paul Murdoch is probably the best local boxer they haven't seen. While he has had ten of his thirty-three career fights televised, many of his most recent impressive performances, including his shot at WBO light heavyweight world champion Zsolt Erdei in Germany last May, have gone unseen. This Sunday night, Murdoch faces Danny Green at the State Netball & Hockey Centre in Melbourne and it will be a pleasant change for Murdoch to have so many people watching the twelve round battle.

"Quite a few of my early fights have been televised, but it certainly is nice to have a fight like this being shown around the country," he said.

The 33 year-old has had a long run as PABA light heavyweight champion with twelve successful defence over two reigns. But back track a few years and many who knew him would have thought that the chances of seeing Murdoch in such a big fight would be remote.

Bob Murdoch had a long career between heavyweight and middleweight on the Australian fight scene between 1957 and 1971. He was a No.1 contender at middleweight in the Australian ratings and fought on "TV ringside" and was involved in their 'Fight of the Year' in 1968. It would seem natural that his son Paul Murdoch would take up boxing at an early age. But it didn't work out that way.

"I didn't really take it up until I was 20," said Murdoch, who grew up and still resides in Geelong, Victoria. "I have played around with boxing my whole life. Dad was in the game and he has always trained fighters. But he wouldn't allow me actually to start. He could see that I was going to be in the heavier weight classes and he knew I would mature later. He didn't want me to start at 13 or 14. He didn't think my body was set and he didn't want me taking any punishment at that age."

For a long time, it seemed Murdoch would never box competitively, until one off-season Murdoch wanted to improve his fitness for AFL football and turned to boxing training. "I got into it and got the taste for it and that was it," he explained. Not that a professional career was in Murdoch's sights. "Our theory was we'd have a few amateur fights, win a few trophies to put on the shelf and that would be it," he said

After an amateur career of 27 wins from 35 fights, Murdoch turned professional in March 1998 at the age of 24. Having only started boxing at such a late stage, Murdoch has been on a busy learning schedule ever since. "When I have been beaten, I have learned from every fight," he said.

While boxing history has been littered with many failed father/son training relationships, Murdoch is very pleased to have Bob Murdoch in his corner. "He is more like a best mate than a trainer," he explained. "At times he is a little bit easy on me because I am his son. But to be with your dad when you are away at a fight is all good. It has to be a big plus to feel comfortable all the time. To know that he is in my corner and he won't let anything happen to me. I don't think you could have any more trust."

A straight shooter inside and outside of the ring, Murdoch is refreshingly down to earth in a sport where the big time boxing American influence of flash and dash with little substance is more and more common these days.

"Everything's good," he said simply, of his preparation, "it's just boiling hot down here at the moment."

Auckland based manager Mike Edwards, who Murdoch has been working with since 2001, arranged for him to have lots of sparring in New Zealand over the festive season to prepare for Green.

"We had quite a bit of boxing," said Murdoch. "Plenty or rounds with some different fighters and some heavyweights. It was over the new year so I was fortunate to get that."

A neck injury last year saw him miss out on a fight with world champion Frenchman Fabrice Tiozzo, but Murdoch has been pleased with the results of surgery to have it repaired.

"Its come up trumps," he said. "I had that operated on and had that resurrected and I have had a fight since then. I have had heaps of sparring. I was never going to keep fighting if it caused me any sorts of danger or problems. I'm probably in the same category now as I was prior to it happening. So, I'm really happy with it."

Green's two losses against Markus Beyer in 2005 and Anthony Mundine in 2006 have allowed Murdoch the opportunity to review the fights and add to his own blue print of how to stop the "Green Machine" in his tracks.

"I guess it showed a couple of chinks in his armour," he said, "but you know, Anthony Mundine and myself are two different fighters. I've got good boxing ability and I can fight if I want to. Whether I fight or box Danny, that is for me to unveil on the night. I think I know how I am going to go and I have got to put power in both hands, so I just look forward to the occasion. I think it will be a toe to toe affair, that's the way you would have to look at it. We are both similar in some areas and we both punch very hard, so it is going to be an exciting fight."

The two have sparred before and Murdoch 26-6-1 (16) admits that he has thought about how a real fight with Green 22-3 (20) would go between them in the past.

"I guess you think about everyone if they would come up or come down to a certain degree," he said. "I always looked at this fight as being what would be an action packed fight. We have had some good spars together a few times. It has always been good. He is the type of fighter where we can both showcase our skills and hopefully, I come out on top."

While he lives in Geelong, a one hour drive south west of Melbourne, Murdoch still considers this as a home fight for him.

"It's close," he said. "I'm still living in Geelong, but I have fought in Melbourne quite a few times as a main event, so I classify it as my home. I've got people coming from Geelong and everywhere for the fight. I've got a lot of support."

When SecondsOut spoke with Murdoch on Tuesday, he sounded relaxed and confident before the biggest local fight of his career.

"You have got to be, don't you," he said. "That is the nature of the game. I feel good in myself and if you are not going to back yourself, no one else is going to, are they?"

While he has already fought for a world title, going ten rounds with the undefeated Erdei and would always love another chance, Murdoch doesn't look at beating Green in front of a large audience on Main Event Pay-Per-View and Fox Sports Pub & Club Vision, as a way of establishing himself as a bigger name on the Australian boxing scene.

"I have never ever wanted to establish myself," he said. "I couldn't give a shit to be honest. It's all about achieving personal goals as far as I'm concerned. I would have loved to have won the world championship obviously and now this is another opportunity that will give me great exposure and who knows what that can unveil. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, it depends if you like that. It doesn't worry me. It is more about just achieving a goal and beating Danny Green."

It does not concern Murdoch that Green is a raging hot favourite to win. "I just go in there and fight," he said. "It doesn't matter what people say. They will have their opinion and they are entitled to it. I think there are some good odds going around on me at the moment. All you can do is give it your best shot. This fight will be interesting. Don't worry about that."

Paul Upham
Contributing Editor

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