STILL ON TRACK
A fth world title shot is in Martin’s sights after victory over Garcia
Murray targets fifth world title try after getting past Garcia in a foul-filled fight
‘I WANT TO WIN A WORLD TITLE, GET A FEW QUID AND THEN RETIRE’
kept up his hopes of securing a fifth world title shot with a wide points victory over
Roberto Garcia at the O2 Arena – but it was not pretty.
The visitor did his best to turn the contest into a dogfight and he nearly succeeded. Twice referee Hector Afu deducted points from the Mexicanamerican and on another night Garcia could well have been thrown out. But if there is one man in British boxing who would never lose his cool under such heat, it’s Murray. Not once did the unflappable St Helens man attempt to find a way out. The scorecards returned by Predrag Aleksic (118-109), Francisco Alloza (116-111) and John Keane (118-108) reflected the Englishman’s control of the bout from start to finish.
It was certainly a very different fight to the one which might have been, had Billy Joe Saunders not pulled out through injury for a second time. It meant that Murray, who has failed to prise world titles from the waists of Felix Sturm, Sergio Martinez, Gennady Golovkin and Arthur Abraham, was not afforded the chance to challenge for Saunders’ WBO middleweight strap.
His victory over the Weslaco, Texas’ Garcia earned him the WBC Silver 160lb belt, but it is unclear whether the governing body will install him as mandatory to Golovkin’s full title. But the 35-year-old is in the business of plugging away, and he has no desire to stop just yet. Ditto the fight. Backed by a noisy pocket of travelling fans and his gymmates Carl Frampton and Rocky Fielding, the industrious Murray got to work on his shorter opponent straightaway.
Garcia, 38, was deducted a point in the second round for persistent low blows but they did not slow down Murray, although he was caught by a looping right hand in the third. The visitor was getting peppered to head and body but he was also doing a lot of smiling, as if to tell Murray nothing was hurting him. But he could not disguise his anguish in the fourth when Murray crashed home a right uppercut-left hook combination.
Another very low blow from Garcia followed almost immediately and when he did it again in the fifth, a disqualification seemed to be looming. “I didn’t think the ref did a bad job,” Murray said afterwards. “But I do think Garcia had a few too many warnings.”
Garcia was warned in the fifth, then again in the eighth, and was finally deducted a second point for punching on the back of the head in the ninth. Murray,
undeterred, kept working. The two point deductions gave the cards a lopsided look but Murray’s workmanlike showing had ensured that Garcia was never really in the fight anyway.
Murray will go again in September and hopes another victory will move him closer to a fifth world title tilt. “I don’t want to be in this sport forever,” he said. “I want to win a world title, get a few quid and then retire. Winning the Silver title puts me there or thereabouts. I’ll get there.”
Earlier, Ilford’s Anthony Yarde made very easy work of Darisuz Sek, who was the first southpaw he had ever faced – amateur or professional. It didn’t show.
Yarde floored the Pole with almost the first left hook he threw, and you got the impression he could have ended the fight at whatever moment he chose. In the end, it was surprising that it was not until 2-17 of the seventh (set for 10) that Steve Gray called it off, with Sek under heavy pressure. Another of Frank Warren’s prospects,
Daniel Dubois, produced probably the most mature performance of his fledgling career by stopping the impossibly tough
Tom Little after 58 seconds of the fifth (scheduled for 10).
The Hatfield man had somehow clambered to his feet following a sickening left hook to the body in the fourth round, but referee Terry O’connor stopped him on his feet in the next session with the notso-jolly Greenwich giant unloading to head and body.
The most eye-catching finish of the night came from Hackney’s Ohara Davies, who sent Congolese Paul Kamanga dramatically crashing to the canvas with a short right hand. Although the Lithuaniabased fighter did his best to somehow beat the count, referee Alloza had seen enough with 2-41 gone in the second (slated for 10).
Hainault’s James Branch won his pro debut against Westbury’s Kevin Williams thanks to Lee Cook’s 40-36 card, while Umar Sadiq of Ilford claimed the first stoppage of his career when Chas Coakley waved off his six-rounder with Aberystwyth-based Pole Kamil Al Temimi after 1-09 of the third.
Forest Hill’s Darryll Williams dropped Latvian Raimonds Sniedze six times before Mr Cook stopped it 46 seconds into the second of their scheduled six. There was also a stoppage win for Peckham’s
Johnny Garton, who halted Nicaraguan
Nelson Altamirano, of Barcelona, after 2-33 of the third (set for eight) with a body shot which prompted Mr Coakley to step in and call a halt.
Welling’s Archie Sharp beat Barcelonabased Nicaraguan Lesther Cantillano
80-72 on Mr Coakley’s card, while the same referee scored Chigwell’s Harvey Horn a 40-36 winner over Gyula Dodu
Referee Cook gave Birmingham’s Raza Hamza the 60-54 nod against another Barcelona resident from Nicaragua in Sergio Gonzalez. In fact, the only away fighter on the undercard to win a round was Manchester’s Sam Omidi, but he still lost 39-37 on Mr Cook’s card to Walthamstow’s Sam Gilley.
THE VERDICT The show suffers from pullouts, but credit to Warren for finding a worthwhile vehicle for Murray.
HARD GOING: But Murray never looks like losing his concentration against Garcia
MEAN INTENTIONS: Yarde’s left hook is an impressive weapon
GET THE ROUNDS IN: Dubois wears down the plucky Little
DROPPING BOMBS: Davies prepares to spectacularly take out Kamanga