Express & Star

Murray brothers light up Ohio boxing show

The stars of a big amateur boxing show in Ohio were a pair of twins from Cannock.


St Nick’s Great Hall in Struthers in the suburbs of Youngstown, was packed with a crowd of 1,000, including former world champions Kelly Pavlik, Jeff Lampkin and Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini.

Mancini, the former WBA lightweight champion, left smiling after seeing Charles Murray land the Best Boxer award and twin Henry claim the trophy for Best Bout.

Mancini is friends with the twins’ father, Scott Murray.

Murray is the owner of Bar Sport in Cannock and Mancini has been a regular visitor to the Staffordshire venue over the last decade.

“Ray has watched the boys grow up,” said Murray, who had 108 amateur bouts himself. “I think it gave them a bit of extra motivation knowing Ray was there.”

Murray takes his twins around the country for sparring and last year went to the Emerald Box Cup in Dublin where Henry won gold and Charles silver.

The plan had been to send them to compete in the Brampton Box Cup in Canada last month.

“There was a mess up with the registration and by the time it was sorted out they said it was full,” said Murray. “Someone suggested I should try USA Boxing and they gave us a list of tournaments.

“I saw the one in Ohio, so I rang Ray and he said it was a good tournament.

“England Boxing gave us permission to go over and so did USA Boxing.

“The night before we stopped off in New York and trained at Gleason’s Gym, they had a session there and then we moved on to Ohio.”

Fighters from across the State of Ohio were at the show and Charles Murray was simply too good for Julio Azpurua, who was representing Youngstown Boxing Club, on front of a crowd that also included current pro Danny Rosenberger.

Murray unanimously outpointed the Colombian and Henry just missed out, losing narrowly on points after a give-and-take battle with Anthony Zigarella, an Italian who fights out of Pittsburgh Boxing Club.

Henry said: “We loved every minute in the States and hope to return for another fight there soon. It was a huge help before the senior National Amateur Championships.”

Charles said: “It was an unbelievable experience and a great performance. I can’t wait to fight there again later this year.”

Scott said his experiences in the States convinced him Great Britain have “caught up the Americans” in the amateur boxing ring and revealed the twins will should be fighting closer to home in the National Amateur Championships.

The Midlands semi-finals are held at Bar Sport Premier Suite on Saturday, March 23, with the Midlands finals seven days later.

Henry and Charles, who both won Midlands Youth honours earlier this season, know their father’s venue well – and sometimes do shifts behind the bar at the Premier Suite, that has welcomed boxing greats for more than a decade.

“They were only three or four and didn’t know who they were at the time, but we’ve got photos of Henry and Charles with Anthony Joshua, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard and more,” said Scott, who says Barry McGuigan has also been an influence.

The twins have gone on to box at the venue and Scott said: “They are very different. Henry has a traditional upright style with a tight guard and throws straight shots, while Charles is looser and likes to throw pot shots and combinations.

“Both of them are as hard as nails.

“I won’t push them, but as long as they are enjoying it, I will support them. I don’t want them to think about turning professional unless they do well as amateurs.

“I didn’t think I was good enough to turn pro, but they are better than I was at their age.”