John Murray loses world title fight to Brandon Rios
Manchester fighter John Murray was stopped in the 11th round of his WBA lightweight title fight against American Brandon Rios in New York.
Murray matched his American rival early on, but Rios started to take control after he drew blood in round six.
Rios ruins Murray's title bid
John Murray failed to claim the WBA world lightweight title after he was stopped in 11 rounds by Brandon Rios in New York.
Rios had already been stripped of the title on Friday after failing to make the weight limit, but the title remains vacant after Murray failed to get his hands on the belt.
John Murray and Brandon Rios trade blows © Getty Images
The Brit started brightly and there was little between the pair after the opening rounds, but when Rios appeared to break Murray's nose, things began to unravel.
Murray was docked a point for a low blow in round seven, and although he showed signs of a revival in the ninth, he failed to land any meaningful blows.
Rios made his punches count and by the 11th it was all one-way traffic, and when Rios followed up a right uppercut with a left hook, referee Earl Brown stepped in to end the contest.
"Murray is a great warrior," Rios said. "He deserves a lot of respect. I'm sorry for the bad things I said to him before the fight."
John Murray loses world title fight
John Murray suffered an 11th-round defeat to Brandon Rios as the Manchester fighter failed in his bid to become WBA lightweight champion in New York.
Murray began the fight promisingly and there was little between him and Rios in the early rounds.
But the Madison Square Garden bout began to unravel for the 26-year-old Briton when Rios drew blood in the sixth round, and the American pressed home his advantage. Murray was docked a point for a low blow in round seven.
There was a brief flurry from gallant Murray in round nine which indicated he might have shaken off the blow, but it was momentary and he landed few meaningful shots.
Rios, by contrast, was making his punches count, showing a greater command of the big stage, and come the 11th round it was all one way, Murray, with his face badly swollen, taking some fierce hits from his opponent.
Rios streamed down punches almost from the bell, initially from arm's length but then from closer range, and Murray's defence was proving ineffective.
He was taking shot after shot to the head, prompting the referee to step in and stop the fight.
Murray had spoken before the fight of how he would "shock the world", and a twist came when it emerged that Rios had failed to make the 135lb weight limit.
That dealt a major blow to Rios, in that it meant he would give up his WBA belt whatever the outcome, and the fight only went ahead after Murray's camp agreed to revised terms, including a 147lb limit.
There were reports 25-year-old Rios had been on a water-only diet for two days, which seemed likely to favour Murray.
Murray had come in under the original limit but once the pair reached the ring none of the pre-fight talk mattered.
Rios, after riding out early pressure from Murray, showed the class which made him champion to inflict on his opponent a second successive defeat, following a loss to domestic rival Kevin Mitchell in July.
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