The Channel of Champions - BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch.
546) - starts an action packed 2013 with its first live domestic
show on Friday 18th January from a sold-out Walsall Town Hall,
featuring two big British title fights.
The main event on the show sees unbeaten Birmingham star Frankie
Gavin making the first defence of his British Welterweight title
against West Midlands rival Jason Welborn, while chief support
features Hove's Ben Murphy take on Walsall's Martin Gethin for the
Vacant British Lightweight Championship.
Murphy, a Southern Area champion who's facing the biggest
challenge of his career, talks to boxing writer Glynn Evans about
I've a sister who I'm pretty close with and two much older
brothers who moved out when I was young and I don't have a great
amount of contact with.
Today, I live in Hove with my missus and daughter who'll be four
I do some personal training and I also teach yoga.
I don't have one.
What age did you become interested in boxing and why?
I always liked it and watched it but didn't start participating
until I was 22. Growing up, the martial arts were more my thing. I
did Taekwondo and, when I was 19, I went out to South Korea to
train for six months. After returning to Britain, I found there was
nothing to match the training I'd been doing out there so I drifted
into Thai boxing and then (conventional) boxing.
What do you recall of your amateur career?
I started with the Exeter club, briefly passed through the
Paignton club, also in Devon, then ended up at the Hove ABC which
was run by (former WBO heavyweight challenger) Scott Welch.
All told, I had about 25 bouts - the last 15 at Hove - and lost
four, I think. I achieved nothing massive as an amateur but really
enjoyed myself. It was fun. I won the National Novices for under
ten bouts then, straight after, beat the Novice champion for under
20 bouts, at the weight above.
I went in the ABAs one year, but I'd only had about 15 contests
at the time and I got beat by Ben Jones of Crawley (the future
English super-feather champion). I lost on points to Bradley
Skeete, knocked out Todd Miles of the Repton, who was rated number
three in England at the time, and also beat a Welsh champion called
I definitely wish I'd got into boxing earlier but, that said,
I'm very happy with my journey so far. I'm quite proud that, having
started so late, I've made it to box for the British title.
Why did you decide to turn pro when you did?
By the age of 26, it just dawned that if I wanted to fight, I
might as well get paid for it. I also realised that my style was
more suited to the pros. I was never one to dance around and pick
opponents off. In the amateurs, refs were always on my case.
I'd be trying to slip and roll but all I'd hear was 'Head up,
Tell us about your back up team
I don't have a promotional deal as such but I'm managed by
Mickey Helliet and trained by Paul Newman, a former pro light-heavy
from Bognor Regis, at Scott Welch's Hove Boxing Gym.
Paul's just a b*****d, an ex Marine who trains me proper hard.
He's still got that military thing in him. He's a slave driver but
he makes me very solid.
I also take advice from a few other people, particularly Tony
Dib (Anthony Di Barnardo) who runs a company called Balance In
Motion. He helps me with strength and conditioning plus administers
What's your training schedule? Which parts do you most and
I train six days a week and take Sunday off. I'm usually
training all day. Even without a fight scheduled, I'll sometimes
run up to 16 miles a day with a ruck sack on, just to put endurance
in the bank. I'll cut that back as a fight date approaches.
Most days, I'll spend an hour and a half doing yoga, and maybe
an hour doing strength work, in addition to two and a half hours at
the boxing gym. There, I'll chop and change my routine accordingly.
I do all the usual; bags, pads, sparring, circuits, ground work but
I have no set schedule. I listen to my body and let it guide me as
to what it needs. I might focus specifically on strength,
flexibility... I like to keep things fresh.
I do quite a lot of 'alternative' stuff. I beat my body with
sticks to toughen it up and incorporate a lot of yoga, meditation,
Tai Chi which all helps me focus, not just regarding boxing but in
I believe you have to be connected to yourself all the time and
those practices help keep my spirit centred. They give me balance,
and when you've got balance, you can develop strength, speed and
I most enjoy sparring. It takes your focus to the next level and
I travel all over the place to get it. There's no part of my
training that I don't enjoy. If there was, I'd stop doing it.
Murphy (L) fighting Choi Tseveenpurev in 2010
Describe your style? What are your best qualities?
I think most would view me as an aggressive, come forward
brawler but I've got more to me than people think. Still, strength
is definitely my key. Being so short (5ft 4in) is actually good. It
works for me. I'm used to fighting taller guys but opponents
usually haven't met anyone who comes in as low as I do.
What specifically do you need to work on to fully optimise your
potential as a fighter?
What have you found to be the biggest difference between the
pro and amateur codes?
Completely different games. Pro fights are so much longer that
you can't just run away and constantly move backwards as some
successful amateurs do. In the pros, eventually, you're going to
find yourself in front of the opponent, forced to go toe-to-toe.
There's more contact in the pros and that definitely suits me.
Who is the best opponent that you've shared a ring with?
Probably Gary Buckland (the reigning British super-feather
champion, who was outpointed by Ben over six rounds in Murphy's
sixth pro fight). He was good all the way around; strong, quick,
elusive. Good fighter.
Murphy (R) celebrates his win over Gary
All time favourite fighter?
I can't pick one. All boxers have strengths and weaknesses. I'll
watch Mike Tyson for his power and elusiveness, Sugar Ray Leonard
for his smoothness... At the moment, I'm watching a lot of (Cuba's
WBA Super/IBF featherweight champion) Yuriorkis Gamboa who's
amazing. He's always so smooth and relaxed yet so fast and
All time favourite fight?
It's between the Morales-Barrera trilogy and Corrales-Castillo
Which current match would you most like to see made?
Yuriorkis Gamboa against Adrien Broner. Helluva fight. I'll go
with Gamboa to nick it.
What is your routine on fight day?
I'll have a nice long lie in. Throughout the day I'll eat some
nice food, lots of carbs; sweet potatoes, porridge and veg.
Then I'll do some meditation and Tai Chi to relax myself. I
actually enjoy that time, the hours building up to a fight. For a
period from about three weeks before a fight, I can feel my
awareness gradually building up and sense myself getting more and
more focussed. Fight day, it reaches a pinnacle.
I've not even thought about it. I've pretty much had something
different every fight.
What are your ambitions as a boxer?
Winning this British title.
How do you relax?
I quite enjoy watching football on the tele but don't support
anyone. I like watching Barcelona.
I read loads of books; anything to do with the spirit, religion,
I'm into all music.
I'm really not a film kind of person and I can't watch tele;
don't like it. If the missus has it on, I'll leave the room and go
and have a read elsewhere!
Aspiration in life?
That's the ultimate question! It's all about my daughter,
bringing her up well, teaching her.
'In life, there are no ordinary moments!' It's something I'll be
stressing to my daughter.