By Shaun Brown
The second half of this current boxing season will once again bring its share of highs, lows, shocks and controversies but for Joe Murray 12-0 (5) the remainder of the year has him wondering where his career is going.
In 2011, the 25-year-old fought only twice including his first twelve round contest and so far in 2012 his record reads of one fight and one win. When BoxingScene caught up with the former world amateur medallist his frustrations were clear from start to finish.
“I wish someone would tell me what was going on,” sighed an exasperated Murray when asked about his next fight and what was going on with his seemingly stagnated progression.
“I’m sitting waiting on a date. My first fight back in the new season is going to be like my debut all over again the way things have been going. Whoever it’s going to be I want it to be a credible opponent and they’re gonna get all my frustrations taken out on them.”
Nicknamed “Genius” it doesn’t take one to realise that the effect of his promoter, Ricky Hatton, being dumped by Sky is having a profound effect on certain fighters in the once prosperous outfit. Rumours of a Hatton comeback and where that tale may be told is of little interest to a fighter whose career is suffering because of not knowing where his next payday is coming from. But like all good professionals, Murray trains as hard as the next man in the surroundings of the bubbling Gallaghers Gym.
“I’m just out for Joe Murray,” he said. “I’m asking why. I signed a contract that states I was to have four fights a year and that’s not happening. I need to be active. At one point I was on the verge of a British title shot.”
In a few weeks the 2008 Olympian will have to content himself with a spying mission in front of the television once again when current 126lbs king, Lee Selby defends his crown against former champion Martin Lindsay in Belfast. Not so long ago Murray was moving himself into contention with fights against these men and many other domestic leading lights.
So does he feel he’s being overlooked?
“No I don’t think I am,” he responded.
“These guys don’t want to fight me because of my style. They’re asking themselves ,‘Who needs Joe Murray’? And what does he bring to the table?’”
Like many an inactive fighter the effect is also hitting the pockets of him and his young family. A girlfriend who is currently six months pregnant and despite his youth a worry that he’s not getting any younger is making the younger sibling of older fighting brother John, anxious and frustrated.
Indeed when talking about the financial implications, Murray brought up a pinch of regret because of the direction his professional career is heading.
“I was getting paid more as an amateur. I was lottery funded and on really good money. But I done the amateurs and I wanted to go pro because I wanted to find out if I could do it.”
Such is his desperation to fight and his anger at not getting one, Murray had little interest in joining his trainer and his stablemates in a recent training camp in Los Angeles at the Wildcard Gym.
“I don’t need to go to the States to get good sparring and get a good camp. I’ve got it all here. All I want to do is to fight.”