“Murray is like a caged lion he can’t wait to be unleashed” Joe Gallagher
Photo By: Al Stevenson

Manchester’s John Murray makes the fourth defence of his British lightweight title, whilst challenging for the vacant European lightweight belt against Newport’s Gary Buckland at the Kingsway Leisure centre in Widnes.

Murray 28-0 (16 KO’s) has been out of the ring since his win over John Thaxton in October last year. His inactivity was down to the fact that firstly Anthony Mezaache relinquished the belt and then Andrei Kudriavtsev pulled out of there proposed fight for the vacant belt at the last minute, when negotiations for the fight broke down.

So Welshman Gary Buckland 18-1 (6 KO’s) has stepped in with late notice to make the vacant title fight an all British affair, and is ready to give Murray a few surprises.

“I know I am the underdog, but I am ready to surprise a few people,” Buckland told the South Wales Argus. 

“This is the culmination of three years hard work,” added Buckland, bidding to be Newport’s first European champion since Dick Richardson in 1962.

Gary Buckland stops Istvan Nagy in the first round and calls out John Murray
Gary Buckland is certainly deserving of this surprise shot at the British title. He won a Commonwealth eliminator back in February this year with a hard fought points win over the previously unbeaten Sam Rukundo from Sweden.
He also has points wins over the capable Henry Castle and Craig Docherty. His one loss was on points to Ben Murphy. Murray though is a big step up in class for Buckley and he will need to raise his game like never before to stand a chance against the uncompromising Manchester Machine Murray.
Murray, former British young boxer of the year, has been ticking over in the gym during his inactivity and is in tremendous shape ahead of this showdown, and he will also be looking to win the Lonsdale belt outright.

“It is a really important fight for me. It’s not only for the European title, but for the Lonsdale belt as well, once I have won on Friday night the next step will be a world title shot “said Murray.

“I am aiming to win in style and well within the distance” a focused Murray added.

Both fighters weighed in yesterday with John Murray scaling 9st 8lbs 6oz, while Gary Buckland came in at 9st 8lbs 12oz, both under the limit and raring to go.
Champion Murray under the gaze of trainer and mentor Joe Gallager
Photo By: Al Stevenson 

Murray previously lost his British title on the scales against Scott Lawton, he won the fight with Lawton, before going on to regain it defeating Thaxton last time out. Although a miss judgement in weight by Murray was thought to have lost him the title, team Murray insist there own scales had been spot on, which is understandable, Murray usually makes the weight fine.

British Boxers caught up with Murray’s trainer and mentor, 2009 trainer of the year Joe Gallagher after the weigh in to ask his views on the fight and the future for John Murray.

BB. So John made the weight fine, no problems there?
JG. “Yeah the weights not a problem, as you could see on the scales he is in good shape with just three weeks notice, John apart from blip against Lawton with the scales, he has never had trouble making weight.”

BB. What kind of shape is he in mentally and physically?
JG. “John is very focused, he is like a caged lion he can’t wait to be unleashed, he has got some frustration to get out and he is excited and buzzing to be fighting again.”

BB. What problems does Buckland pose?
JG. “I disagree with the bookies odds, Gary is an highly ambitious fighter with a good team behind him, Tony Borg is a good coach and will have a good game plan in place for Gary, and I see him causing us problems in the fight. He is an active fighter on a winning run, against good kids  and he has nothing to lose and everything to gain, and it’s them opponents that are dangerous, he has a good right hook uppercut and is sharp on counter it will be a good fight.”

BB. Will John fighting regularly after this fight?
JG. “Hopefully, John will have to defend within 90 days which is good news so we see from there but yes, three more fights this year is the aim.”

BB. With Mitchell and Khan fighting next week are any of them in your sights or will you take a different route?
JG. “Amir Khan is light welter so no point talking about him, I wish him well in USA. The winner of Kevin v Kastidis is what we are looking at, and if Kevin pulls it off, it would be great domestic showdown, if not then there is another Britt to halt the Aussie’s charge and John Murray v Michael Kastidis is a great fight, and with both ranked in the Ring magazine top 10 the fight can be made.”

BB. Can you ever see John Murray, Amir Khan and Kevin Mitchell ever fighting each other and bringing back the days of the Watson, Benn, Eubank type fight era?
JG. “It would be great to think so but Amir is now in a different weight division, I think Amir would only fight Murray or Mitchell if he gets derailed in the USA, he would come back and want to get in the mix especially if Kevin and John were having a fight, he would be envious that he never had his best of British showdown.

BB. Are there any plans to step John up in weight in the future?
JG. “Not at this present moment in time, he makes the lightweight limit comfortable and we want a world title at lightweight first, if an opportunity arose to fight at a higher weight which made sense for titles, then yeah has a one off, Marquez Diaz every one is at it, so it depends on opponent’s as well.
BB. John as an old school fighter and as gone through the ranks, still unbeaten and with a European title on the horizon and a high world ranking, is he ready now for that defining fight?
JG. “I would say John Murray is Three fights away from being a Box Office fighter, he is an exciting fighter, he sits in your pocket and SKY are running out of Box Office fighters, John Murray vs Kevin Mitchell could be a box office fight. John Murray vs Michael Kastidis could also make box office viewing, both are exciting fighters, but John needs the profile, the publicity, it all has to start after tomorrow night fingers crossed.”
Interview by Chris Maylett for British Boxers 

John Murray vs Lee Meager fight video

The Undercard in Wigan.
Manchester favorite Prince Arron, who won the Prizefighter Light-Middleweight trophy in February, features, while former Commonwealth welterweight title holder John O’Donnell is also in action.
Ex-Commonwealth Super-Featherweight title holder Paul Truscott takes part in six-round contest and former British featherweight champion Jamie McKeever faces Newcastle’s Dougie Curran over four rounds.
A number of undefeated youngsters will also be in the ring, including Martin Ward (super-bantamweight) and Bradley Evans (lightweight), while Poland’s Grzegorz Proksa (middleweight) and Andrzej Wawrzyk will be looking to maintain their undefeated records.
Tickets cost £30 and £50 and available from 01277 359900.
Kingsway Leisure Centre,Widnes, Friday, May 7, 2010
12 x 3 mins Vacant European and British Lightweight Championship @9st 9lbs
JOHN MURRAY (Manchester) v GARY BUCKLAND (Cardiff)
8 x 3 mins Light Middleweight Contest @ 11st 2lbs
PRINCE ARRON (Droylsden) v MAX MAXWELL (Birmingham)
8 x 3 mins Welterwerweight Contest @ 10st 10lbs
6 x 3 mins Super-Featherweight Contest @ 9st 8lbs
PAUL TRUSCOTT (Middlesbrough) v NIKITA LUKIN (Ukraine)
6 x 3 mins Light-Welterweight Contest @ 10st 2lbs
JOHNNY ROCCO (Manchester) v GAVIN DEACON (Northampton)
4 x 3 mins Featherweight Contest @ 9st 2lbs
JAMIE McKEEVER (Birkenhead) v DOUGIE CURRAN (Newcastle)
4 x 3 mins Light-Welterweight Contest @ 10st 2lbs
LIAM CULLEN (Manchester) v MARK LEWIS (Nottingham)
4 x 3 mins Super-Bantamweight Contest @ 8st 13lbs
MARTIN WARD (Manchester) v MO KHALED (Sheffield)
4 x 3 mins Lightweight Contest @ 9st 12lbs
6 x 3 mins Middleweight Contest @ 11st 8lbs
GRZEGORZ PROKSA (Redhill/Poland) v FARAI MUSIYIWA (Birmingham)
6 x 3 mins Heavyweight Contest
ANDRZEJ WAWRZYK (Poland) v PAUL BUTLIN (Melton Mowbray)
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