John Murray says he deserves his world title challenge against WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios
Mancunian John Murray has hit back at critics who have said he does not deserve to be challenging for the WBA lightweight title against Brandon Rios at Madison Square Garden, New York, on Saturday night.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
"I don't understand the attitude of not getting behind a British fighter against an American in New York. What have I done wrong ? I'm a value-for-money fighter, who puts it all on the line," said Murray, with one defeat in 32 fights.
Murray lost his only contest, in July, to Londoner Kevin Mitchell, when he was stopped in the eighth round.
"I learnt a lot in that fight. I thought I could just walk through Mitchell, and I was wrong. I've learnt my lesson. People are acting like it's some kind of coming out party for Rios, but I believe I have his number."
Mitchell himself might have got this title fight, but it is understood that visa issues may have prevented him from travelling. Murray will have to be on his mettle if he is to usurp the belt against Rios, who is unbeaten in 29 contests.
A former British and European champ, Murray, 26, said: "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." Rios is the heavy favourite, making his second title defence, having knocked out 20 of his 28 victims.
Murray added: "Look, I'm not saying it's going to be simple. Rios has dynamite in both hands, but is very reckless and allows himself to get hit. We will exploit his recklessness.
"He leaves himself open and doesn't mind taking one or two punches. I need to switch between boxing cleverly and fighting him. I am confident and wouldn't be here unless I thought I could win."
Murray has certainly already had 'nig night' experiences. He has fought in Florida and twice in Las Vegas, the most notable on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather Jnr and Oscar de la Hoya, in 2007.
Murray added: "Fighting on those cards will hold me in good stead, and I've sparred with Shane Mosley and Ricky Hatton and held my own. It's been a great camp and I'm just ready to go in there and prove people wrong."
John Murray v Brandon Rios for the WBA lightweight title is live on BoxNation (Sky Channel 456).
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