John Murray says he will 'shock the world' by beating Brandon Rios

WBA lightweight title: John Murray v Brandon Rios

Venue:
Madison Square Garden, New York
Date:
Saturday, 3 December
Coverage:
www.boxnation.tv or Sky ch.456, Virgin ch.546

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John Murray eyes world title glory in New York

Manchester boxer John Murray says he can defy the odds and become a world champion in New York on Saturday night.

The 26-year-old faces highly rated WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios at Madison Square Garden.

"I'm going to go over there to shock the world and bring the title back," Murray told BBC Radio Manchester.

"I've been dreaming of this day since I was a little boy - I intend to take this opportunity with both hands and bring it back to Britain."

American Rios, 25, is unbeaten in 29 fights as a professional and goes into the bout having stopped his last 10 opponents.

However, while Rios is the WBA "world" champion, the governing body's "super-world" champion is Mexican great Juan Manuel Marquez, who is so-called because he also holds the WBO belt.

Despite this discrepancy, former British and European champion Murray believes he has what it takes to cause an upset.

"I'm going over there as a massive underdog," Murray said. "But I'm really confident I can pull this off.

"When it comes to fight night, a ring is a ring to me - I've just got to concentrate on my opponent, and that's what I'll be doing.

"All that training, all those years, this is what it's all been for and this is where it's going to pay off for me.

"For the next 12 rounds, I'm ready to go to hell and back to bring this title back."

After winning his first 35 fights as a professional and holding the longest unbeaten record in British boxing, Murray's world title shot comes on the back of his first professional defeat - an eight-round stoppage loss to Londoner Kevin Mitchell in July.

The Liverpool bout was recently named 2011 Contest of the Year by the British Boxing Board of Control and according to Murray it has acted as a valuable lesson ahead of his first tilt at a world crown.

"It's what I needed - it has given me chance to go away from boxing, have a good think about how I was living my life inside and outside the ring and I feel like I've corrected my mistakes.

"I felt like I let a lot of my friends down, a lot of my family down, and I've got this opportunity now. If I go over there and win this title I think all will be forgotten from the last fight.

"Maybe I wouldn't have got this shot if I'd stayed undefeated," added Murray. "Maybe I would have been avoided, but I was beaten and this door has opened for me."

Murray, reunited with long-time trainer Joe Gallagher after the pair briefly split following the loss to Mitchell, will aim to bounce back from his first defeat in a similar fashion to the way in which world light-welterweight champion Khan reacted after being spectacularly knocked out by Breidis Prescott in 2008.

"He [Khan] is a big inspiration," said Murray. "He shows that you can come back from a loss and go on to conquer the world - that's what I'm looking to do now."

And Murray believes that he might have been underestimated by Rios, who has won 21 of his 29 fights by knock-out, including victories against high-profile lightweights Anthony Peterson and Miguel Acosta.

"I've seen clips of him training for the fight and he's already talking about who he's fighting next," he said.

"He seems more interested in selling T-shirts for the fight than he does worrying about me.

"But if he's expecting a one-sided fight and just a warm up job for whatever he's looking at next, then he's got another thing coming.

"I've learnt my lessons, whereas he hasn't been in a position where he's had to go away and learn yet.

"I feel like this fight has come at the right time for me and, unfortunately for Brandon Rios, I think it's come at the wrong time for him."

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