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Murray retains title on points decision

Murray keeps European title in his 31st straight win

Posted Apr 03, 2011 by Weekend Round-Up

John Murray

John Murray, the undefeated European lightweight title holder kept hold of his belt last night after a gruelling fight with Karim El Ouazghari and a unanimous points decision.

The Manchester boxer was troubled by the left jabs and body shots from the fighting fit Spaniard but in the end it proved no match for Murray as he came out as clear winner in many of the later rounds.

Despite El Ouazghari taking a count in the 11th round, the decision still went to points and the referees agreed that the fight should be awarded in Murray’s favour with a victory of 116-110 117-111 115-112 – so in the end, a close brush with defeat for the European champ. With last night’s victory, the 25 year old brother of Olympian Joe Murray has an unbeaten stretch that runs to 31 fights – a record-breaking sequence for a British fighter.

The fight did however bear all the hallmarks of fading form because Murray did not make easy work of El Ouazghari which calls into question his ability to fight for a world title shot. The bout was watched eagerly by West Ham based boxer Kevin Mitchell who is chomping at the bit to take on Murray and end the 25 year old’s run of form to return to the top of the division.

If El Ouazghari had defeated Murray (which on occasions looked possible) then it would have been a serious upset because the European Boxing Union only rank the Spaniard 20th in the division and the fight wasn’t expected to be such a serious test for Murray. In all fairness, El Ouazghari is the current Spanish lightweight champion and boxers are entitled to occasional inconsistent performance but at times it certainly looked likely that Murray’s run of form was going to be halted in its tracks with El Ouazghari unstoppable left jabs and body shots which slowly started to grind Murray down who was attempting to get in close to his opponent in his usual fighting style.

At times, the bout descended into an unsightly brawl with Murray slogging El Ouazghari who absorbed the blows from the European champion. It certainly couldn’t have been described as a display of technical skill though and at times you’d have been forgiven for thinking the sloppy fight was nothing more than two amateurs having it out. Murray received a warning for low shots in the 10th round, El Ouazghari was docked a point in the 11th when he charged at Murray and the final round saw Murray docked a point for punching behind the head delivering a final blow for an already wobbling opponent and securing his continued occupation of top of the division.

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