Martin Murray (Q&A)
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Interview By: Cathal Jennings
[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”5″]R[/su_dropcap]ecently I caught up with Martin Murray who faces Billy Joe Saunders on April 14th for the WBO World Middleweight title. See what he has to say on facing Billy Joe Saunders, joining Frank Warren, possibly retiring, Amir Khan joining Matchroom, his book “Sinner and Saint”, the state of British boxing and what would be the perfect 2018 and much more.
Q. How do you feel going into your World Title fight with Billy Joe Saunders?
A. Obviously made up about the fight, I really rate Billy Joe, he’s a top fighter but I feel like it’s my time I’m really looking forward to it. It’s now or never and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.
Q. How did the fight come about? Have you been in negotiations for a while?
A. We’ve talked about it for a while. It was supposed to happen in December before the Lemieux fight but Golden Boy stepped in and put a stop to it. I was told if he comes through Lemieux he would fight me, Billy has honored what he said.
Q. How do you see the fight with Billy Joe Saunders going?
A. It’s going to be a tough fight, he’s coming off a great performance in his last fight but I have never really struggled with southpaws. I just feel like I have it in me to beat him I have the experience I believe I’m the best fighter he’s fought. I’m the underdog again going into a fight but it’s nothing new to me. I can’t offer anybody anything other than a f*****g hard fight, I can’t say “well I have this belt you can win this” what I can offer is a hard fight.
Q. If you don’t get the win on April 14th will you consider retirement?
A. If I don’t win I’ll retire.
Q. How are you feeling physically? Are you excited to start your training camp?
A. I have been in camp since the beginning of the year, everything is going well. I just have to be careful that I don’t overtrain. 8 weeks out I’ll be hitting it hard.
Q. Are you still with Matchroom or was this fight made between Frank Warren and yourself? Did Eddie Hearn have any involvement?
A. No, it was made through MTK and Frank, that’s how it’s been sorted. Myself and Billy have the same management team so that’s how it was done, I’m with Frank Warren now.
Q. What did you make of Saunders performance against Lemieux?
A. I think he boxed out of his skin. I think Lemieux is a bit of a 1 trick pony. I predicated Saunders would box his head off and he put in a masterclass performance.
Q. You and Billy Joe obviously have a lot of respect for each other, there’s no bad blood between you is there?
A. No, not at all. I rate Billy, respect him, he’s never caused me any harm seems like a good lad.
Q. You have a book coming out this year called ”Sinner and Saint”. Why have you chosen that title?
A. A lot of people don’t know this but I have got a bit of a chequered past. Before I turned pro I was in quite a lot of trouble. I was in jail 4 or 5 times, just being a bit of a k******d, really being a bit of a d**k. I had a bit of a colorful past, it was only through boxing that I managed to turn my life around. Doing something positive, that was the idea behind it.
Q. Why have you decided to write a book now? Usually, athletes wait until they have retired before writing a book?
A. Two reason’s really, one you don’t know if you will ever get that chance to write a book, and second that I’m still an active fighter which helps sales of the book. When you retire your old news in reality but I still have relevance bringing it out now.
Q. You have been in the ring with some heavy hitters, who would you say is the heaviest hitter you have faced? Would it be Golovkin?
A. For one punch it was Groves for me. With Golovkin every shot is hard, he’s in your face, he’s got a ramrod jab, it’s solid, it’s stiff. With Groves, I just felt his backhand, I didn’t really feel his jab.
Q. You mentioned George Groves who faces Chris Eubank Jr this February, how do you see that fight going?
A. I think Groves will win, he can win by just outboxing Eubank. He’s a better boxer than him, people go on about Eubank’s work rate and he has got a good work rate, he’s got a good engine but it’s whether he can do it against a fighter like George Groves. It’s whether Eubank can get to work, I don’t think he will if he can stand up to Groves power and take him late, who know’s what can happen. I think that’s where Eubank has a chance. I think Groves is going to outbox him and win on points.
Q. There are so many broadcasters coming into British boxing at the moment, for example, BT and ITV, do you think this is a good thing and do you think British boxing is in a good place?
A. I think it’s brilliant. You mentioned all the TV stations showing boxing which I think is a good thing. You don’t want one promoter having the monopoly of boxing, healthy competition is good and it benefits fighters. The amount of World Champions we have now, the fighter’s we are producing and the British fight’s that are getting made I think it’s great, it’s buzzing at the minute.
Q. What did you make of Amir Khan’s decision to join Matchroom and his decision to take part in a reality TV show? Do you think it’s something fighter’s should be doing when they are not fighting to keep in the public eye?
A. I think the thing with boxing is that not many people know who many boxers are. The likes of Sky Sports who show their fighter’s but apart from that you don’t get much promotion. The fact Amir went on that show and raised his profile I think was good, Amir takes a lot of stick but he’s a nice lad. I’ve known him for years. I’ve always said he’s a good lad. He went on “I’m a Celebrity” and got noticed for the guy he is, so good on him. I think him signing with Matchroom is a good thing before he went in the jungle there was the talk of him fighting Kell Brook, signing with them is going to lead to that fight. If they both get well paid from it then fair play to them, happy days. I don’t think it’s a bad move at all.
Q. What would be the perfect year for you?
A. Win the World Title, defend it, have a homecoming at St Helen’s and possibly retire.