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Friend to foe – Ciaran McVarnock wants to “beat up” former gym-mate Joe Murray

Ciaran McVarnock [8(2)-0-1] was positively fuming on Saturday night.

The Belfast featherweight stood in the crowd at the Manchester Arena to watch his friend and stablemate Matty Fagan controversially beaten by Joe Murray in a lightweight ten rounder.

Murray, who fought at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, was formerly trained by Arnie Farnell – the current trainer of Fagan and McVarnock.

Ellesmere Port puncher Fagan knocked down Murray in the second, and the Olympian also had a point deducted for holding in the eighth, but Murray still claimed a 96-93 win on the card.

The result left McVarnock, and everyone at Arnie’s Gym in Manchester, positively disgusted and ‘Bunty’ now wants to take on Murray and claim some retribution.

“I thought Matty Fagan won the fight easy,” he told Irish-Boxing.com.

“A 10-8 round from a knockdown and Murray deducted a point for holding – yet fagan still lost by 3 points!”

“Real bad decision, Fagan was robbed. The boos in the arena and the tweets over Twitter says it all.”

“Murray knew himself deep down he didn’t win that fight.”

Despite the fact he is naturally smaller than Murray, McVarnock now wants to take on ‘Genius Joe’ – or ‘Average Joe’ as he calls him.

The Belfast boxer outlined how “the Murray fight is above my weight but I don’t care, that’s how confident I am of beating him – I’ll fight him at lightweight.”

“The reason why I want the fight is simply because I just don’t like him. I just don’t like Joe Murray and that’s why I want to beat him up.”

“He calls out the likes of Crolla – Crolla is world level! Murray has not even won a British or European title, so disrespectful!”

“He’s just the Average Joe. I don’t rate him at all. He’s the same fighter every fight, he hasn’t improved at all.”

25 year old McVarnock has sparred Murray [22(9)-0-1] before and takes confidence from these sessions

“I’ve sparred Joe a few times. He no different in any spars, he’s the same.”

“I filled him in, beat him all over the ring. His brother John trains him and even them both were arguing when he was going back to the corner. I’ve got video of the spar to prove it!”

“I believe I’ll beat Joe Murray and beat him easy. I’m a far better boxer than I was when I sparred him, he’s stayed the same.”

“I’m a better fighter, I’ve got a bigger heart than Joe, and I want it more than him.”

McVarnock’s opinion of Murray has changed in recent times, and he notes how “I used to like Joe, we used to get on, have a laugh and things.”

“I had a lot of time for him and, when he fought for Arnie, I went to his fights to support him – but now I’ve lost all that, I think he’s a ginger prick.”

“The disrespect to other boxers that are on a way higher level than him, he’s just the Average Joe.”

McVarnock actually had the chance to fight Murray earlier in the year, but saw the offer from Murray’s manager Steve Wood as being derisory.

The New Lodge man explained how “I was offered the fight before because I asked for it. That’s the only reason why I was offered it, because I asked for it.”

“So MTK and Joe’s manager done what they had to do – but I wasn’t getting the fair amount of coin for it. Us boxers need to make money in the game also, I’m no journeyman.”

While numbers dictated that he wouldn’t fight Murray on a VIP Promotions card, McVarnock has his eyes on a bigger stage

“There is a Frampton show coming up in Belfast [November 18th],” he said.

“I sell shit loads of tickets in Belfast. Fingers crossed I can fight Joe on the Frampton bill before Christmas. I’d love MTK to make that happen.”

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie