Ibrahim Harb – Birmingham
Former world title challenger Rendall Munroe (24-2-0, 10ko) scored an emphatic first round knockout against over-matched yet game veteran Jose Saez while Joe Murray (11-0-0, 5ko) trumped Jose Luis Graterol but struggled to look good doing so at the Reebok Stadium, home of Bolton Wanderers, in Bolton on Saturday, February 4. Elsewhere on the card, Matty Askin destroyed Attila Palko…
Official verdict: Munroe wins first round stoppage.
Experienced Munroe, who looked cut with broad shoulders, downed Saez with his first clean punch of the opening round. Boxing with aggression – perhaps taking heed of the criticism levelled against him following a couple of drab fights after his unsuccessful world title challenger against Toshiaki Nishioka – Munroe left himself open when he sent hooking shots either side of Saez’s frame. For the second time in the stanza, Saez was on the floor but it was not from a single blow, more due to the accumulative barrage… the unrelenting abuse of fists from all angles and the Argentinean was defeated in just two and a half minutes.
Munroe, a consensus top ten fighter in the global ranks at super bantamweight, was pressed post-fight as to whether Scott Quigg or Carl Frampton could be in his future but the boxing binman simply responded with a ‘who?’ brushing off their rise to the British and Commonwealth glory, respectively.
Official verdict: Murray wins referee decision (80-72).
Frustrated due to an absence from the ring that stretches back to last summer, Mancunian featherweight Joe Murray, 25, took on Venezuelan journeyman Graterol, who had lost three of his last five heading into the bout in Bolton. During the opening two rounds, Murray loaded up on left hooks. Graterol was by no means fighting like an opponent brought in to make the home pug look good as he made Murray miss shots while landing his own uppercuts. With 30 seconds remaining on the round clock in the second, Murray scored with a one-two to the head then the belt-line. Moments later, he hurt Graterol with two successive left hooks.
In the third round, Murray retained the superior edge but showed signs of minor ring rust as he did not have all things his own way as Graterol frustrated the Englishman with evasive maneuvering. In rounds four and five, Murray’s attack was greater than Graterol’s but there was a distinctive lack of rhythm that trainer Joe Gallagher will no doubt iron out now Murray is to fight with a more consistent regularity.
Before the start of the sixth round, Graterol’s cornerman was windmilling the white towel in order to cool the fighter down as he was out of breath and heaving. When boxing resumed, Murray scored with an immediate right hand but was prevented from capitalising on the damage by a retreating Graterol. And, in the final rounds, Murray sealed victory with hard uppercuts, straight right shots and left hooks.