MARTIN Murray achieved his lifelong ambition to win the British middleweight title on Saturday night in front of a packed and raucous Robin Park Arena crowd, then roared: “bring on the best”.
The St Helens fighter, who is now right amongst some top names in a brilliant and captivating domestic middleweight division, captured the vacant British crown when brave challenger Nick Blackwell was pulled by his corner out after five thoroughly pulsating rounds.
Murray, who is now unbeaten in 23 pro fights, was dominant throughout the battle and is now anxious to close in on fellow world class Britons Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin who were ringside in Wigan.
Murray, aged 28, believes the secret to becoming a world champion is a special relationship with trainer, Oliver Harrison.
He said: “Me and Oliver are going all the way together. To continue that path we had to beat Nick Blackwell and we did that.
“The tactics he works out for everyone in the gym are spot on and it really is an eye opener. I am lucky to have him my corner. I just admire Oliver as a bloke and a coach.”
Blackwell, 20, was bidding to become one of the youngest British champions ever, but apart from a good first round the Trowbridge prospect couldn’t handle Murray’s power and relentless pressure.
Murray, who also retained his Commonwealth crown and WBA inter-continental titles, added: “No disrespect to him, but I’m surprised he lasted as long as he did.
“I thought I might have done him sooner, but I didn’t feel 100-per-cent myself. I felt him tiring and Oliver said inside six rounds and he was right. I’m very happy to have three belts and I am ready to move onwards and upwards now.”
Blackwell, who lost for the first time in nine fights, was distraught at the corner’s decision, but nobody could complain at the act of compassion and he will come again.
On a cracking bill Manchester Olympian Joe Murray stretched his unbeaten run to 11 wins and claimed his first pro title.
‘Genius’ Murray lifted the IBF international featherweight title after out-pointing Scot James Ancliff, while British lightweight champion Anthony Crolla floored Belgian Herve De Luca O’Connor three times in a crushing first round win.