Two-time world title challenger Martin Murray, THE RING's No.7 rated middleweight, forced Ghanaian Ishmael Tetteh to retire after six relatively one-sided sessions in South Africa on Wednesday. The bout was a scheduled 10 rounder which took place at a catch weight, agreed to by both camps, just north of the 160 pound limit.
Murray, from St. Helens, in the UK, got the ball rolling in the fifth when he staggered Tetteh with a three punch combination, which forced his man to take a knee. The referee failed to administer a count but, although the bell rang to end the round, damage had undoubtedly been done.
Sensing weakness, Murray began putting real spite into his shots in the sixth and Tetteh appeared to have lost his desire as the three minutes concluded. The merciful corner retirement merely saved the fatigued Ghanaian from what would have been unnecessary punishment.
“I’ve had a good training camp,” said Murray, when interviewed by South African television. “We knew I was going to win no matter what but we’ll be stepping things up in June, when I fight in Monte Carlo. This was just the first step towards me winning a world title.”
It was an adequate performance from Murray who shook off a touch of ring rust before he got going. As expected he was more versatile and adventurous with his work, and when a big right hand snapped Tetteh’s head back in Round 3 the writing was on the wall.
The bout, dubbed “Malice at the Palace” was Murray’s debut under the banner of South African based outfit Golden Gloves Promotions, who signed the Englishman to a lucrative deal earlier this year. The plan is for him to have one more warm up fight before targeting bigger game in November, presumably with a world title at stake.
Murray, 27-1-1, 12 knockouts, was very unlucky not to prevail in prior title bouts with then WBA champion Felix Sturm as well as WBC titlist Sergio Martinez, in 2011 and 2013 respectively. The talented Brit fought away from home on both occasions and, for many, should already have held a middleweight strap.
Tetteh, now 29-11-2 (16 knockouts), was introduced to the crowd as Ishmael “Roy Jones Jr.” Tetteh and one would expect the former four weight world champion to file a plagiarism suit, before his next rap album is released. That was a joke, but you never know.
Murray weighed in at 164 pounds, whereas Tetteh was 160.5 officially.
Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing