‘Genius’ Joe Murray is looking to come back with a bang in the lightweight division.
With a glittering amateur background behind him, he is making his return to the ring fourteen months after he suffered a stoppage defeat to British super featherweight champion Liam Walsh.
Now signed with Claymaker Boxing, Murray is looking to target British honours immediately at lightweight, and is prepared to step in the ring with anybody that this country has to offer.
InstantBoxing.com’s Luke Madeira has been speaking to Joe, and here is what he had to say:
Why did you first get into boxing?
We used to do a lot of cross country and my Mum got me into boxing. We were getting in a lot of trouble on the streets of Manchester and my Mum was doing a lot of “Boxercise” so decide to take us down to the boxing gym. From there we started to love the sport.
Having had such a glittering amateur career, what would you pick out as your best achievements?
I think winning the World bronze medal at the World Championships in Chicago and qualifying for the Olympic Games. Not many people expected me to win a medal and I think I was the youngest at the time to win a world medal.
Why did you decide to turn professional when you did at that stage in your career?
I felt like I had nothing else in the amateurs to achieve and I thought I would just go round in circles. I boxed in the European championships twice, I boxed in the World championships and in the Olympic Games, so I thought I had done everything I could as an amateur. I thought that it was the right time to turn pro and I think I have a lot more to give as a professional boxer.
Is your style more suited to the amateur or professional game?
I think a lot of people make excuses about amateur and pro styles, but if you look at the best pros, they have the best amateur careers as well. Look at Floyd Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya.
I was signed up with Ricky Hatton and he was fighting there at the top of the bill. I was Ricky’s first signing and he asked me if I wanted to fight at the MGM Grand which we took with both hands.
The first fight with Liam Walsh ended in a majority decision loss, how do you feel the fight went and how did you score it?
I thought I won the fight and that was why it was controversial. I thought I beat him in the first fight but I have no excuses for the second fight, he beat me fair and square.
The second Liam Walsh fight ended with a stoppage, how much has that affected you?
At the time I never knew if I could make super featherweight and I had had four minutes in the ring in the previous year. I didn’t have the right preparation for the fight and I struggled to make weight. All the preparation for that fight was wrong, but we have learnt from our mistakes and have moved up in weight so hopefully we can chase these titles down. I’ve got a good team around me now and I am hunting down those titles.
Having spoken with Simon he’s buzzing you’re coming back after over a year out and thinks you’ll be British champ within a year! Others that I have spoken to think you’re back for the money and your heart isn’t really in it. Which one’s the right way of looking at it?
All I’ve got to say to that is I have my own business so I don’t need to come back for the money. Most boxers only have their life in boxing and that’s it, but I have my own business outside the ring . If I needed to come back for the money I would have come back a year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to take a year out of fighting. I have never made great money in boxing so what money would I be coming back for? I reckon somebody on the dole has made more money than I have fighting in the time I’ve been boxing.
I assume you watched Scott Cardle against Sean Dodd for the British title a few weeks ago – what did you make of the fight?
I don’t rate Scotty Cardle at all. If that fight was put to me now I would take it with both hands and I would be taking that belt straight off him. He is a very good mover but he doesn’t throw shots or punch, he may as well go on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’! If I get a chance against him I would beat him.
Is that the level you will be looking to move onto fairly quickly?
Yes, anybody that wants to fight me I am happy to fight them. I’m going to have this warm up fight, hopefully another warm up fight and then I will fight anybody. I’m ready to start winning titles, I’m not here to mess around.
There are huge domestic fights to be made with the likes of Tommy Coyle, Ohara Davies and Derry Matthews as well as the obvious targets, are those fights that you want straight away?
Yes I’m happy to fight any of them. Anybody claiming I’m coming back for money – then lets make these fights. If I’m coming back for the money then come and knock me out if I’m that crap because it should be an easy pay day.
He brings a lot to my game. You’ve got to look at it this way, who would you trust more than your own brother in your corner? He has been in the ring all his career and he can see what is going on in fights. He knows how to calm you down because he’s been in the good times and he’s been in the bad times. I’ve just got to take his experience on board because he can only advise me but I have to do my stuff in the ring. He can relate to how I feel which helps more than anything, and as soon as he tells me to do something I do it. We aren’t saying we are the finished article but every time I go in the gym we try and make myself better. We are getting more and more confident and we are getting ready to take on the champions. If everyone was so confident in beating me, the year I had out after the Walsh fight they should have called me out. I feel like I am a very avoided fighter but hopefully people start calling me out because I am more than happy to take any fight because that’s what I am in the game for.
Do you feel any added pressure in the ring knowing the great things that your brother has achieved?
I don’t feel any pressure. At the end of the day I am a written off boxer by many people. I have no pressure and it sounds daft but I know I can live without boxing. If I go and get beat and I can’t do it anymore I have a life outside of the sport, so I don’t have to box for money. Because of that I have no pressure on me.
Whats the dream for you as a fighter?
To become a world champion. If I didn’t think I could win these titles then I wouldn’t be in the sport. I look at Anthony Crolla and Terry Flanagan and I put myself up there with them. If they can be world champions then why can’t I?
Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?
British and European champion.
Favourite fighter growing up – Marco Antonio Barrera
Favourite glove – Cleto Reyes
Best ever round – Ward vs. Gatti, any round!
Best ever fight – Ward vs. Gatti
First fight you went to – One of Ricky Hatton’s
First memory of boxing – Fighting as a school boy
Best punch you’ve ever received – I don’t know I don’t take that many!
Craziest thing you’ve seen in boxing – Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield’s ear
Funniest personal moment in boxing – Me and Billy Joe [Saunders] in the Olympic games robbing two of the lad’s bikes as a joke and getting chased off them.
Best fight you’ve seen live – Probably Ricky Hatton vs. Kostya Tszyu at the M.E.N