Lee Murtagh – The Floodgates Have Opened

The beginning of a very busy June saw me back in Malta, reffing an international title fight which saw Malta’s Greek born fighter Billy Corritos move into the heavyweight top ten rankings, it was the third professional title fight I’d reffed this year.

lee.sophie-mayoressA week later my latest show at the Pryzm saw Alex Ferguson return to the ring after injury and gave a measured performance in a points win. Sophie Varley had a hard fought points win for the EBF English bantam weight title and Crossgates fighter Liam Hayes was unlucky to lose on points to a very highly rated opponent.

But the most controversial fight of the day was Sam Smith’s second pro fight. Her opponent, Gabriela Olahova from the Czech Republic came with good credentials, or so we thought, but as soon as the fight began she was clearly out of her depth. In fact Sam had commented before the fight she thought she looked terrified but looks can be deceptive, unfortunately they weren’t this time. Sam hardly laid a punch on her before she basically gave up barely twenty seconds into the first round.

As well as feeling bad for Sam, I felt like I’d short changed the paying customer and I felt the crowd were unhappy. Sam had lee-micsold in excess of a hundred tickets for the fight and it was a big let down for all concerned. I don’t want this to happen again, we certainly didn’t hand pick an opponent to try and pad Sam’s professional record out, we wanted a proper test for her, win, lose or draw. It was a real anti climax, so I took the mic from Tony Deane the MC and and I promised I’ll deliver an international   title fight, then a world title. Sam’s next fight is a British Masters fight outdoors at Garforth Town Football Club which has already been sanctioned by the Maltese Boxing Commission (MBC).

Talking of the MBC, they’ve recently found themselves in a position of strength after a change in rules regarding licensed boxers being allowed to box on MBC & GBA (German Boxing Association) shows over here. The British Boxing Board of Control have done this which is a positive move forward for the sport. To say the floodgates have opened has never been so true. Boxers will be able to hold dual licences and be able to fight on any sanctioning bodies bouts. This is a real opportunity for the MBC to really come into their own and they are already looking at provincial towns where promoters have previously struggled to put shows on.

So my next show, an open air one at Garforth Town FC on August 2nd at 2.00pm will be a mixture of professional and EBF fights. Crossgates fighter Russel Midgley who is trained by my old friend Derek Roche recently turned pro and he will be making his second pro fight on the bill, we’ve also got a couple of professional debuts on the card.

A couple of other things, I was invited alongside Sophie Varley for lunch with the Lady Mayoress at Leeds Civic Hall and also, finally a six part series on Bethlehem Boxing Club is now airing every Friday at 7pm & 11pm on Made in Leeds TV.


Lee Murtagh 07793 240535

Professional Boxer / Trainer


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