Manchester’s John Murray lost in his bid to claim the WBA lightweight title after being stopped in the 11th round by Brandon Rios at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Murray said he would “shock the world” before the fight and showed grit and determination to stay competitive in the bout, but his American rival eventually found his rhythm and picked off the battling Brit.
The 11th round was a dominant one for Rios, easily landing combination after combination on Murray’s unguarded head, which prompted the referee to intervene.
Despite the win, Rios is not the WBA lightweight champion following being stripped of the title for not making the weight limit for this fight. He was also forced to pay Murray $20,000 from his fight purse for this discrepancy.
Rios was reportedly on a water-only diet in the days leading up to this fight in an effort to make weight. Murray made the weight easy but could not make his better fight preparation count.
This was Murray’s second successive defeat following the loss to fellow Englishman Kevin Mitchell in July in a back-and-forth fight.
Rios’ victory sees his unblemished fight record improve to 28 wins with one draw. Conversely, Murray’s record is now at 31 wins, two losses.
Murray equalled the punch output delivered by Rios in the earlier half of the fight. However, the punches thrown from Murray seemingly had little power, as Rios walked through them with ease.
The fight changed in round six, after Rios had drawn blood from Murray. Murray seemed to struggle with his breathing. Rios took full advantage, picking his shots carefully.
Murray was then docked a point for a low blow in round seven and it was elementary for Rios from then on in, despite a rousing comeback round for Murray in the ninth. Though, once again, it seemed Murray’s punches had little effect on Rios.
By the 11th round, Murray’s bruised, bloodied and swollen face had absorbed too much punishment from the aggressive Rios, and referee Earl Brown was forced to stop proceedings.