John Murray and Kevin Mitchell will face off in the lightweight battle of Britain on Saturday 9th July.
Mancunian Murray, 31-0-0 (18) will have to take his Manchester ‘Barmy Army’ down the M6 and into Mitchell’s back yard to take on the challenge of the Dagenham man.
The fight was to have been made back in February and Murray had booked his train ticket to the capital to sign to fight Mitchell at the York Hall Bethnal Green on April 2.
But because of contract terms that didn’t amuse Mitchell, 26, he pulled out of negotiations and the fight was cancelled. Murray, 26, went on to fight and outpoint Spanish champion Karim El Ouazghari to retain his title for the second time and his record of the longest current unbeaten British fighter.
With Londoner Mitchell at ringside to watch Murray’s fight that night and the early wranglings adding spice to the build up, it only was a matter of time before Warren pulled this fight out of the bag and matched the two best light-weights in the country with each other – and what a good fight this promises to be!
Warren makes this fight hot on the heals of another heated British rivalry that is ready to come to boiling point on May 21, when James De Gale defends his British super-middleweight strap against Commonwealth titlist George Groves in another grudge battle of unbeaten UK talent.
We long for the days in British boxing when we can say ‘Its like the days of Benn and Eubank’ – well with fights like this being made for boxing bragging rights on home soil before taking on the world, we may just be on the verge of entering a new era of boxing immortals, ready to add there own chapter to the boxing history books and reincarnate the Halcyon Days of British boxing.
Champion Murray says he is happy to take the fight with Mitchell that has been long in the making and believes that if he has to beat Mitchell and prove undisputably he is the No1 in Britain and a win will get him a world title shot, then that is exactly what he is prepared to do.
VIDEO: John Murray Interview: ‘If I have to go through Kevin Mitchell to get a world title shot, then so be it – I will’ – John Murray
“I want the world title and if I have to fight Kevin along the way to get the shot then so be it.” said Murray.
“But ill fight anyone that’s the way I am. Mitchel I think is a little bit above his station and I think he thinks he is better than what he is. I mean if he wants a fight ill fight him Ive got no problems with that and I’m sure ill knock him out.
“If Kevin gets in my way then he will get mullered just like the rest of em.”
“I thought Mitchell had bottled it once and for all when he turned down the opportunity to fight me last month, but I am glad he has finally put pen to paper as this fight has been a long time coming and, apart from the world title, this is the only meaningful challenge left for me in the UK.” he added.
Londoner Mitchell, 31-1-0, the former British and Commonwealth Champion, sees his Mancunian rival as his ticket back to the big time after his loss to Michael Katsidis at Upton Park in May last year and knows defeat to Mitchell would put an end to his own plans of for the future.
“Murray’s done well but he hasn’t faced me yet and, if he had, we wouldn’t keep hearing about his unbeaten record, I was 31-0 too with more stoppages than him, until I lost out in my 32nd fight which he will too.” snapped Mitchell
“Personally, I hope this fight takes place in the East End so I can show my legions of fans that last year was a one off an Kevin Mitchell is back.
The date, and the site of the fight will be announced soon by Frank Warren. A sell-out is expected for the North v South showdown that will see the winner thrust into a world title fight next year.
“Like DeGale V Groves this is another fantastic fight that I am so pleased to be able to stage this summer. said Warren.
“Finally the big fights are being made and like the winner of DeGale v Groves, the winner can look forward to a world title challenge in the new season.
“This is a real 50/50 match and I salute both guys for signing up for it. I am working on a date and venue for the show and hope to announce this and, of course, a top quality undercard very soon.” Warren added.
By Chris maylett