STILL ON TRACK

A fth world ti­tle shot is in Mar­tin’s sights after vic­tory over Gar­cia

Boxing News - - Contents - De­clan Tay­lor

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’

MAR­TIN MUR­RAY

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

of Hun­gary.

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.

All Pho­tos: AC­TION IM­AGES/ADAM HOLT

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

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