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New Frank Warren signing John Murray gets a big fight straight away - he takes on Kevin Mitchell on the undercard of Nathan Cleverly against Jurgen Braehmer.

The European lightweight champion will make the second defence of his title against Mitchell in a potential classic.




Mitchell hasn't fought since losing to Michael Katsidis in a WBO lightweight title challenge last May.


After the fight, it emerged that he had not trained properly for the biggest opportunity of his career, and he has been sidelined since with eye trouble.


But his shot at Murray - which is likely to take place on April 2 at Wembley Arena - represents an unexpected chance to get back to the top.


However his Mancunian rival will be determined to make a big statement, and knows a world title shot of his own could be on the cards should he win.


Murray, who currently has the longest unbeaten streak in British boxing, is ranked number three by the WBC, and number 13 by the IBF.


He has a 30-0 (18) record, and at 26 is probably approaching his prime.



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Really looking forward to this one. Been waiting for this one for ages. Not sure who to go with. Murray, who is on a high and aiming for a World title shot? Or Kevin Mitchell, who lost last time out and hasn't been able to fight since but who will be looking to bounce back big time? Tough one to pick IMO.
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Great fight, I'm backing Murray also! It's pretty clear Frank has given up on Mitchell being a cash cow and sending him out for the slaughter.


Should be a cracking fight though.


I thought that aswell. Maybe Warren has given up on Mitchell after his apparent lack of traing for his biggest fight (Katsidis) and sees more potential in Murray.

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Danny Flexen explores a devastating setback


BIG ATTRACTION? Not now but Murray could become the new Hatton

JUST three days after the second of 2011’s most highly anticipated fights was confirmed, it was off, Kevin Mitchell stating on his Facebook page that “politics” had put paid to his scheduled March 16 clash with unbeaten Manchester rival John Murray. Sadly it would not be a shock if James DeGale-George Groves, a contest the purse bids for which were won by Hayemaker the day before Mitchell-Murray was announced, were to go the same way.


Presuming Mitchell’s declaration refers to boxing machinations and is not a misguided protest at David Cameron's Big Society, what could the issue be? It is unlikely to be, as some have speculated, a desire for a warm-up fight – Mitchell's first since the crushing loss to Michael Katsidis a full nine months hence – before such an important contest. Mitchell and trainer Jimmy Tibbs have both told me in recent months of their enthusiasm regarding going straight back in at a high level. And besides, Kevin’s social networking pronouncement that the fight was on contained more exclamation marks than the one revealing it was off!!!


As is often the case in the sport we love, the problem may have pertained to money, contractual clauses or both. It may seem unfair if Mitchell had demanded purse parity or even the greater share of the pot, given Murray is unbeaten and has a higher world ranking, while the Londoner is coming off a defeat. But boxing is a business and Mitchell, unlike Murray (yet), a proven draw, especially in London, where the fight was to be held at Wembley Arena. As the man likely to generate the most income – for most fans Murray-Mitchell is an even more attractive opposition than the superb bill-topper pitting Nathan Cleverly against Juergen Braehmer – you can make a convincing case for Kevin deserving the biggest slice of what will be a large and succulent pie. But perhaps he was already getting that; this is merely speculation.


Could it perhaps be a rematch option which caused the Dagenham man to balk? With Murray having just signed a multi-fight deal with Frank Warren, who promotes both lightweights, the guarantee of a return should he lose, regardless of the European champion's confidence, would appear sensible, if not for Mitchell.


The fight could be resurrected in the next few days as if this hiccup never happened and then we’ll never know what the sticking point was. I have to admit, however, I was surprised when it was made. As several promoters vied for Murray's signature, I felt his opting to pledge his troth to Warren made a fight with Mitchell less, rather than more likely. My thinking was that Mitchell is a big attraction in London while Murray has the potential to fill Ricky Hatton's commercial boots in Manchester – that has to have been a major factor in Warren signing him. When both can make their boss a great deal of money if kept apart, that Warren instead matched them immediately, risking the loser becoming devalued, is to the promoter's immense credit. Yes, the fight will still command a fair amount of cash but, when you consider the long-term implications, Warren has prioritised the fans above his own profit-making.


But now the unidentified snag and hopes of a superb 50-50 clash – one I want to see far more than DeGale-Groves, incidentally – are dissipating. Let's hope they can work it out as this match has the potential to cross over, to generate a winner ready to challenge at top level and, most importantly, to provide a five-star modern British classic. Until next time...

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