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Murray is a best bar none


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Murray is a best bar none


He's an undefeated British and European champion in the ring – and a cult hero to thousands across Manchester.


But John Murray’s appeal has been given its biggest boost to date after he was chosen to be the new pin-up in hit Channel Four comedy, Shameless.


Like Ricky Hatton before him, the 26-year-old from Levenshulme has been immortalised by the show, with his picture now adorning the set on the infamous Chatsworth Estate.


A photograph of Murray has been put up behind the bar at fictional pub, The Jockey, meaning the No 6 ranked lightweight in the world is likely to receive a bigger audience for this role than in any of his previous fights.


Hatton’s picture already has pride of place in the McGuire household – but Murray’s addition to the set is further evidence of his growing popularity in a year that he hopes will bring his first world title. The picture – taken by freelance photographer Chris Bevan – won a bronze medal in the British Institute of Professional Photographers awards last year and was used on the cover of magazine Boxing Monthly.


And the opportunity to be included in one of Britain’s most successful TV shows, which has now been remade for American audiences, came about because of Murray’s friendship with Ciaran Griffiths, who plays Mickey McGuire.


“He’s a mate of mine and he just asked me if I had a picture he could put up,” said Murray. “It’s one of my favourite shows on TV so I’m made up about it.


“It’s an honour to know that after using Ricky’s picture, the next one they wanted was mine. He’s had a great career and that’s come to an end now.


“Now it’s my turn to be in the limelight and I’m more than ready for it. It is going to be a big year for me.”


More than 3m viewers watched the first episode of the latest series of Shameless.


In 2011, Murray also hopes to draw in mega figures as he bids to transform European dominance into global success.


A clash with former WBO interim champion Michael Katsidis has long been on the cards, as well as a battle of Britain with Kevin Mitchell or Alex Arthur.


“Katsidis is a great fighter and I’d love to fight him,” said Murray. “I know Kevin Mitchell wants a re-match with him but he’s had his turn and it’s mine now.


“But I’d be more than happy to fight Kevin as well. That would be a massive fight for British audiences – big enough to fill stadiums over here.


“We both bring something different – it’s north v south, it would be a classic.


“Last year was my best yet. I won the European title and defended it but this year is going to be even better. I want to be world champion by the end of it and when my chance comes I’ll take it.”


Murray’s trainer Joe Gallagher believes his involvement with Shameless is further evidence that his fighter is the rightful heir to Hatton’s throne as Manchester’s finest.


“It’s such a popular show that will only broaden his appeal,” said Gallagher. “It is a great accolade for him.


“He’s been talked about as the next Ricky Hatton for a long time and he’s following in his footsteps again.


“It’s all happening for him and his peak years are coming. He will definitely fight for a world title this year. If not the summer then by the end of the year.


“He’s won the English title, the British title and the European title. He’s got the longest undefeated record in the country right now – all he needs is that world title.”



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