SKY Sports have singled out lightweight prospect John Murray as their 'Shooting Star' for 2006. The 16-0 Manchester fighter was tabbed as the British network's top prospect following a year that saw him make successful debuts in America and Canada and, last time out on a SKY televised event, defeat Nacho Mendoza, 16-3, by technical decision. "I turned 21 on Tuesday, so this made a good present," said Murray. "It goes without saying that I am chuffed to bits. Some good fighters have won this in the past, including Ricky Hatton, so I will be looking to follow in their footsteps."
Murray will be appearing frequently on the network next year as he continues his rapid progress. "Even though I am now in Championship class, I still want to keep very busy," added Murray. "I would like to fight five or six times over the next 12 months, including a couple of defences of my new [regional] title. Hopefully we can also look at domestic and possibly even European honours."
First though, the Steve Wood managed and Hennessy Sports promoted fighter will be taking a well-earned break following the head swelling he suffered when beating Mendoza on December 2nd. "The bruising has completely gone down, but you cannot be too careful," Murray explained. "I'm going to give my body a good rest over the next couple of weeks. That fight against Mendoza was a real war."
So much so that many have called it as one of their fights of the year. Neither boxer took a backward step for the duration, instead opting to battle it out in the centre of the ring until Murray was awarded a technical decision after eight rounds when his injury prevented him from continuing.
"I quite enjoyed myself in there," said Murray. "I admit I got involved in a bit of war, but I am always confident that I have the strength to deal with anyone, even Mendoza. "He was very tough. He took a lot of punishment and still kept coming back with more. Mendoza is definitely the best I have faced to date, I think he can still go on to win big things.
"People have said to me since that he was a lot better than some of the opponents who come over and challenge British fighters for so called world titles. I have to agree with that. I would like to see Kevin Mitchell fighting Mendoza. That would give us a yard-stick as to how good he really is."