|British and European lightweight champion John Murray. pic by Al Stevenson|
“This could be my Ricky Hatton-Kostya Tszyu moment and I’m ready for it.” John Murray
John Murray could get the fight he has been calling for against Australian Michael Katsidis this September in Manchester in a fight at the MEN Arena that would bring back memories of Ricky Hatton’s legendary clash with Kostya Tszyu in 2005.
It seems now only paperwork stands in the way of an explosive bout for the WBO interim lightweight crown, and Manchester machine Murray’s rise to the next level.
Champion Katisidis made light work of another British fighter Kevin Mitchell at Upton Park last month and is keen to cash in on his profile against the British lightweight champion and new European king, Murray.
Speaking in the Manchester Evening News, Katsidis’s trainer Brendan Smith said: “I was contacted by Murray’s promoter, Mick Hennessy, the day after the Mitchell fight. He reckons they could draw a 20,000 crowd in Manchester.
“Murray has called Michael out on several occasions, saying Katsidis has not beaten the best in the UK.
“That’s his opinion. Michael loves boxing in England because of the atmosphere and the passion of the fans.
“I’ve not had an offer put before me, but if the money is right we will travel to Manchester for the fight.”
Murray has a mandatory defence of his European title against Andrei Kudriatsev later this summer, but would forego that if a clash with Katsidis could be made before that.
The 25-year-old, who also holds the British belt and the longest unbeaten record in the country, believes his willingness to take on Katsidis is evidence that he will face all-comers in his bid to win his first world title.
“I just want my chance,” he said. “I know if I beat him then doors will open up for me. Amir Khan could have fought Katsidis, but fought Paulie Malignaggi instead.
“I think he’s fighting who he can to avoid the best, but I want to fight the best and be the best. There is no one I wouldn’t fight.
“The fact that my name is being mentioned shows that I’m going in the right direction. I’ve just got on with my job, winning titles. I’ve already proved. I’m the best in country and now I’m ready to make the step up.”
Murray defeated Gary Buckland for the European title last month to take his unbeaten record to 29 with 17 knockouts.
Katisidis, who has only ever lost world title fights to Juan Diaz and Joel Casamayor, represents a major step up in class for the Manchester fighter, but he insists it is a challenge he is ready to take.
“I didn’t see anything against Kevin Mitchell to make me think I won’t beat him,” said Murray. “We are both big punchers so it would be a brutal fight and one that probably wouldn’t go the distance. This could be my Ricky Hatton-Kostya Tszyu moment and I’m ready for it.”
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