Hall of Famer Roy Jones Jr.’s protégé, undefeated middleweight prospect Andrew “White Lightning” Murphy (5-0, 4 KOs), will be fighting at home for the first time as a professional on July 14th in the 8-round, co-feature event on the RJJ Boxing on UFC Fight Pass card, at Yakima Legends Casino in Toppenish, Washington.
Murphy, 22, faces the top test of his young pro career, Isiah Jones (9-6, 3 KOs), of Detroit, in the Irish American’s first scheduled 8-round bout, for the vacant National Boxing Association (NBA) Americas Middleweight Championship.
Murphy-Jones will be one of four fights slated to be streamed live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
Two years ago, Murphy packed his bags and moved 2600 miles across the country from Toppenish to Pensacola (FL), where Jones is based, and how they eventually connected can best be chalked up as destiny.
First, Murphy attended Jones’ last pro fight on February 8, 2018, in Pensacola, watching his idol in action, and after the show he waited around outside the venue to catch a glimpse of RJ. Instead, he got the thrill of his life when, after talking to a member of Team Jones, Murphy was brought inside to meet living legend Jones.
In 2019, RJJ Boxing on UFC Fright Pass promoted a show in Murphy’s hometown of Toppenish at Yakima Legends Casino, where Murphy met Jones once again. He was formally introduced to Jones by Roy’s former teacher, Marlene Cousins, whose daughter Holly Collins was a member of the Toppenish City Council. At that time, Murphy was a successful amateur boxer (32-4, USA rated No. 4), who had spoken in front of the council regarding PAL funding.
“None of this makes sense…..it was destiny,” Murphy talked about having Jones as his head trainer. “When I was 16, my mother moved to Pensacola – I don’t know why - and two years later, she asked me to move there to train. I had a place to live. I like it here and because of all the military people it’s like a city of adopted people like me.”
Rather than stick around to try and make the US 2020 Olympic Boxing Team with no guarantees, advised by Jones, Murphy decided to turn pro, which he officially did on his 21st birthday (March 27, 2021) in Mexico. He has fought twice in Mexico, two times in Alabama, and once in Atlanta. Fighting at home, though, is a dream come true for the kid from Toppenish with a bonafide superstar in his corner.
“This fight is a big deal for me,” Murphy explained. “There’s not a lot of positivity in Toppenish. To be successful, so far, and to have an NBA title shot in my hometown means a lot. A lot of my friends will be there and hopefully some kids will be inspired. Even as an amateur there weren’t too many opportunities for me to fight at home in such a small town. I’ve been a road warrior so far as a pro, but when I learned about this opportunity for me to fight at home, I said, let’s go! And I’m fighting there on July 14th.”
The Irish, of course, are known for their fighting spirit. Murphy isn’t 100-percent sure of his Irish ancestry but with a name like Murphy, his fanbase should grow exponentially as fans all over the world discover this potential rising star.
Being guided by one of boxing’s all-time greats could be intimidating for many young boxers, but Murphy and Jones have developed a special relationship.
“My dad told Roy to take care of me like I was his son,” Murphy noted. “I look like him now as a father figure. We really have a close relationship. I like working on his farm with him and going fishing. I’ve learned how to use my brain, the art of war. He was so athletic, I think that (Jones’ ring IQ) was overlooked. More than anything that’s what he passes on to his fighter, and that’s where the magic will happen.”
Unbeaten Quinton Randall (9-0-1, 2 KOs), fighting out of Houston, headlines against Ivan “Cobra” Pandzic 14-1-1 (8 KOs) in the 8-round main event. The reigning WBC USNBC champion, 31-year-old Randall was a celebrated amateur who captured a gold medal at the prestigious 2016 USA Nationals, silver at the 2017 USA Nationals and 2017 Pan American Games.
Washington State intra-state rivals William Hernandez (8-2, 5 KOs), of Burien, and Wapato super lightweight Magarito Hernandez (2-2-1) – no relations – square off an 8-round bout, and middleweights Joseph Aguilar (2-0-1, 1 KO) meets Alarenz Reynolds (1-1) in a 4-round match to open the UFC FIGHT PASS live stream.
Fighting on the non-UFC FIGHT PASS segment of the card are welterweight Chris Johnson (7-0, 1 KO) vs. Devonte McDonald (1-1), lightweight Bryan Sanchez (1-0, 1 KO) vs. pro debuting Dyllon Cervantes, and light heavyweight Nick Mills (3-0, 2 KOs) vs. Kelton Hall (2-1, 1 KO).