Thursday, June 11, 2009

British Scene Preview: John Murray vs Scott Lawton

Dave Oakes previews Saturday night's British lightweight title fight between Manchester's undefeated young champion John Murray and the challenger from Stoke, Scott Lawton.

Murray pictured on the right landing a straight right hand against Youssef Al Hamidi last May - Photo © Justin McKie

Check out our recap of the show: Weekend Recap

Saturday June 13

John Murray vs Scott Lawton (ITV4)

By Dave Oakes

John Murray, one of Britain’s hottest young talents, will be hoping to keep the momentum going in his career on Saturday night when he makes the second defence of his British lightweight belt against Scott Lawton at the Robin Park Centre, Wigan, England.

The pressure will be on Murray to produce another good performance following impressive victories in his last two outings. Murray seemed indomitable when winning the title against Lee Meager nearly a year ago, stopping the hardened Salford warrior in five one-sided rounds. He then made a successful defence by halting the game Scotsman Lee McAllister in the 8th round.

Those fights were a welcome return to form for Murray, who at times has struggled to live up to the reputation he created for himself in the early stage of his career when a run of impressive performances helped him to win the coveted Young Boxer of the Year award.

He seemed to be stuck in a rut towards the end of 2007 and was in need of a challenge to help reinvigorate his career. The British title shot came at the perfect time for him and he grabbed with both hands. Meager is as tough as they come but Murray just went through him as if he wasn’t there, with punch after punch landing flush on Meager’s chin. He was a bit more patient against McAlister but came on strong from the 3rd round onwards to overcome the always competitive Scotsman.

This will be Lawton’s second attempt at winning the British title after he lost in his first attempt against Jon Thaxton just over two years ago. Lawton boxed well early on against Thaxton but lacked the punch power needed to keep Thaxton off him and was eventually ground down and stopped in the 7th round.

Lawton has also got a loss against Amir Khan, who outclassed and stopped him in four rounds. Whilst he was completely out of his depth against Khan, he never went down and tried his best to stay in the fight despite taking a barrage of blows from the much touted former Olympian star.

His best win came at the end of last year when he stopped the then unbeaten Martin Gethin in the 9th round of a minor title fight. Lawton boxed beautifully that night, controlling Gethin with an impressive jab and catching him clean numerous times with the overhand right. Lawton isn’t a puncher by any means but he landed clean often enough that it eventually had an accumulative effect on Gethin which broke the unbeaten prospects resolve and left him on teetering legs when the referee stopped the fight.

If Lawton is to stand any chance of winning this fight he must work behind the jab as he did in the Gethin fight, Murray’s chin isn’t hard to find and Lawton should be able to catch him coming in. Murray is relentless though and is more than willing to take a punch to land his own, it makes for entertaining fights but it’s the one thing that could hold Murray back in his career.

I expect Lawton to put in a good performance, as he always does, but I don’t believe it’ll be enough to beat Murray. Murray’s main attribute is his stamina and I can see him setting a fast pace from the opening bell, a pace that the older Lawton will struggle to match. I think Murray will take over the fight from the 4th round onwards and will stop a brave but tiring Lawton in the final four rounds of the fight.

e-mail Dave Oakes