By Steve Lillis, courtesy of The Daily Star
JOHN MURRAY plans to shock the world and stick it to British fight fans.
Manchester’s Murray has been handed a shock world title chance against WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
A fight against the unbeaten American was the last thing Murray expected after being stopped in eight rounds by Dagenham’s Kevin Mitchell just four months ago.
But instead of being supported against the 10-1 ON favorite, Murray has received nothing but abuse from fans.
The former British and European champ, 26, said: “A lot of it is Brits talking about how Rios will beat me.
“I just think ‘What have I done wrong?’ I always give 100%, wear my heart on my sleeve and cannot believe people are supporting Rios when I’m a Brit fighting abroad. The negative people are putting fuel on the fire and making me more determined to shock the world.
“If I do win, they will be first on the bandwagon. I wish the country would get behind me.
“People say I shouldn’t get the chance because of a loss in my last fight, but when you get beaten doors open sometimes.”
Murray’s setback against Mitchell is his sole defeat in 32 contests. The pair were re-united last week when their brutal battle was voted British ‘Fight of the Year.’
Mitchell would have got the call to face Rios first, but it is understood he had visa problems which prevent him going to America.
Married dad-of-three Rios, who is making his second title defence, has knocked out 20 of his 28 victims and been compared with Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.
Murray insists he has nothing to fear and added: “Rios isn’t as good as people are making him out to be.
“They seem to think it’s his party, but I am here to win this title.
“Rios has dynamite in both hands, but is very reckless and allows himself to get hit.
“We will exploit his recklessness. He doesn’t mind taking one or two punches to land one.
“I am confident and wouldn’t be here unless I thought I could win.”
Murray has fought in Florida and twice in Las Vegas – including on the Floyd Mayweather Jr v Oscar de la Hoya undercard in 2007.
He said: “Fighting on those cards will hold me in good stead.”
Murray v Rios is live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Channel 456).