Murray(pictured) faces tough test
Unbeaten Cavan boxer Andy Murray and former WBA junior welterweight champion, Gavin Rees look set to serve up a summer sizzler when they clash for the vacant European Lightweight title in Cardiff on Saturday, June 4th. The two men meet on a Matchroom Sports promotion at the Motorpoint Arena in an eagerly anticipated matchup which will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
Murray boasts the longest unbeaten run in Irish boxing and he’s determined to extend that perfect record to 25 and 0 with a European title win over local favourite, Rees.
“This is the chance I’ve been waiting for,” revealed Murray from his isolated training camp in Connemara on Ireland’s western seaboard. “I’ve worked hard to get into this position and I’m determined not to let it pass me by. I’ve seen quite a few of Rees’ fights from winning the World title to winning the Prizefighter and British titles so I know what he’s about. He’s an excellent fighter and a very experienced professional so it will be a big test for me but these are the kind of challenges you want in your career.”
The 28-year-old Irishman says he has no problems going into the lions den and is expecting to have plenty support of his own in Cardiff. “A ring is a ring at the end of the day whether it’s in my backyard or his backyard. Once that first bell rings it will be just the two of us and the referee in there. I know that a lot of people are planning to make the trip over to Cardiff and I’m very thankful for all the support and it will certainly drive me on.”
Murray’s has been clocking up the miles on the road and the rounds in the ring at his Connemara base and he believes the sacrifices will all prove worthwhile next month. “It’s the first time I’ve gone into training camp for a fight but I’m really enjoying it here. When I’m training in Belfast it’s a four hour round trip from home in Cavan and that can be draining but here everything is on my doorstep, I’ve brought in good sparring and I’m working with a strength and conditioning coach and being in camp has allowed me to focus 100% on the job at hand.”
Rees, however, is determined to inflict the first defeat on Murray’s unblemished slate and capture the European title in front of his home fans. “It’s great to have home advantage and it’s up to me now to make the best of it,” said Rees
“I’ve a lot of respect for Andy Murray. He’s unbeaten and I’m sure he sees this as his big chance. I haven’t watched that much of him as I never watch all that much of my opponents, I leave that to my trainer, Gary Lockett. From the little bits I have seen he puts his combinations together well and he seems to be a nice little boxer but I’m experienced enough now not to worry too much about my opponent.”
Rees has been out of action since winning the British Lightweight title last November due to a persistent nose injury but the Newport native says that’s behind him now.
“Training for this fight has gone great and I’m just tuning up now so I’m ready for action. The nose is fine again, I had it cauterized and I haven’t had any problems so it’s not an issue for me anymore.”
While Rees won his World title one division up at junior welterweight he feels happier being back at lightweight. “This is my natural weight really. The only reason I went up to light welterweight was because the World title opportunity came about but lightweight is where I’m at my best."
May 13, 2011