By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
FRANK WARREN is convinced that John Murray can emulate Ricky Hatton by becoming a massive American hit.
Promoter Warren famously guided ‘The Hitman’ to the top of the world during a ring career in which he became a massive star in the States.
Like Hatton, Murray hails from Manchester. And tonight he faces WBA world lightweight champion Brandon Rios at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Warren said: “If he can keep boxing the way he is, I see no reason why he can’t follow in Ricky’s footsteps over there.
“He is an exciting fighter and the kind of boxer that the American audience will love. He has a great opportunity.”
Murray, 26, who has already held the British and European titles, not surprisingly agrees with his promoter.
He said: “Hatton had many great nights in America and I hope that I’m the next Manchester fighter who can win here. This is by far the biggest bout of my career to date and it is a great feeling to know that I will be fighting in the Mecca of boxing.
“Getting into the ring at Madison Square Garden for the world title is the whole reason I got into this sport in the first place.
“If you don’t want to have nights like this then there is no point being in this game. It’s a dream come true for me.
“I’ve fought in America in the past and have won each time, so I aim to continue that run against Rios.”
Murray’s last bout was a cracking encounter that ended in defeat by fellow Brit Kevin Mitchell.
But he feels that he has come back stronger from defeat and it will help him upset the odds by beating Rios.
He said: “This is a great stage for me to bounce back after my defeat to Mitchell. Since that loss we’ve been back in the gym and have gone back to basics.
“I think the loss was the kick up the backside I needed to reignite my motivation for the sport.”
PREDICTION: Murray will go toe-to-toe with Rios. I would love to see him win but I feel Rios will triumph around the eighth.
THE Rios v Murray bout in New York will be screened live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky channel 456).