The ever competitive North and South divide of England enters the ring once more when London’s Kevin Mitchell clashes with Manchester’s John Murray on July 9. One thing for certain is that this is a fight that has been in the British imagination for some time. Both men have seemingly outgrown the domestic scene in search of something more and with this victory comes the chance to leave these shores for a chance at world honors.
Murray vs. Mitchell Preview
John Murray currently holds the record for the longest unbeaten run in British boxing with a record of 31-0(18). His all action style coupled with a European reign has propelled him to a number 2 ranking by the W.B.C. Murray is exciting to watch when often overpowering his opponents and bludgeoning them into submission. Beneath a tight guard he is ever-present in front of his opposition and his superb fitness allows him to maintain a pressure that makes him a realistic test for anyone at world level.
John has a ruthless take-one-to-give-one attitude that has seen him have a tendency to cut around the eyes in his longer fights and an occasional lack of head movement can sometimes make him easy to hit. Murray is a decent puncher and has a wide selection of hurtful combinations that makes him an effective pressure fighter.
His career has lacked a degree of forward momentum in the past however. Failing to secure some big marquee names has prolonged his transition from European to world class and with 31 fights under his belt (some of them hard toe to toe battles) needs to make that move now.
Kevin Mitchell had the chance to do that last time out when he fought Michael Katsidis in May of last year. Katsidis started at a fast pace from the outset. The fight ended in the third round with the West Ham man being chased around the ring until being pinned on the ropes. With Katsidis crashing big punches through Mitchell’s guard, referee Dave Parris was forced to intervene.
Stories emerged shortly after of problems in Kevin’s private life which had caused distractions in his training camp. However true that may be, I for one could never see him getting past the tough battle hardened Aussie. In light of this upcoming fight, Mitchell has been talking about moving his preparations abroad to avoid the previous headaches striking again.
Kevin certainly carries a powerful punch, bringing his record to 31-1 (23). On paper he looks to be the heavier handed of the two, but compared with the bullish core strength of Murray, Mitchell would see to come off second best. He is a smart boxer and a good mover and when given room to get his shots off looks very impressive. Therefore, implementing a game plan where he feels comfortable letting Murray walk into straight punches is vital in getting the win and ending coach Joe Gallagher’s record of 47 straight victories for his fighters (that number could increase to 50 by fight night providing John’s brother Joe Murray, Anthony Crolla and Mathew Macklin all win). Whoever prevails, this is a fight that the supreme 135lb fighters will be keeping a close eye on, and the winner will likely earn a spot in the top 10 of the lightweight division.
Murray vs. Mitchell Prediction
It’s difficult to see this fight ending early. Mitchell’s best chance lies in hitting and moving and making Murray look cumbersome wile racking up the points. With that said, I would have to go with Murray’s pressure and combinations eventually getting to Mitchell around the 10th after tiring him out early and proving to be the superior boxer and tactician.