John Murray has been told to earn a shot at Anthony Crolla by train Joe Gallagher
Last Updated: 20/02/14 7:45pm
Anthony Crolla with trainer Joe Gallagher
Trainer Joe Gallagher has told John Murray to work his way back up the rankings if he wants to fight Anthony Crolla.
Murray, formerly trained by Gallagher, only recently returned from a near-two year absence following an unsuccessful world title challenge against Brandon Rios.
During his absence Crolla - under the guidance of Gallagher - has resurrected his career after losing his British title to Derry Matthews, with a four-fight unbeaten streak.
"I was number one in Britain for years and European champion. Anthony is walking around like he's the cock of Manchester. I'm number one."
The New Moston stylist currently holds the WBO Inter-Continental lightweight belt and promoter Eddie Hearn is working towards a potential shot at Ricky Burns' world title.
However, Murray told the Manchester Evening News that he is a forgotten talent and is itching to get the chance to prove his worth - and that means a grudge match with Crolla.
"I don't think I get the credit I deserve," he said. "No disrespect to Anthony, but my career is superior. He's lost to people I'm in a different class to. Anthony is thought very highly of, but he beat Rees who was on the back of a knockout by Adrien Broner.
"Rees lost his last fight to Gary Buckland, who I stopped in 2010. He gets more credit for a worse career than I've had. He lost to Derry Mathews.
"I was number one in Britain for years and European champion. I only lost two fights against Kevin Mitchell and then Brandon Rios.
"Put Crolla or Mathews in with me and they will be taken out in three rounds. Anthony is walking around like he's the cock of Manchester. I'm number one."
But Gallagher countered by telling his former charge to wait in line.
"Murray thinks he can come back to the top straight away," he told Livefight. "He's not ranked at lightweight because he's a light-welterweight, he fought a featherweight and he thinks he deserves a shot at Crolla?
"Well, if you want a shot at Crolla, do what Anthony did against Kieran Farrell and Derry Mathews did with Tommy Coyle and work from the bottom against a young up and comer like Scott Cardle. If you beat Scott Cardle, then you're back in the mix and we'll talk.
"You can't just come back after two years out and think you can take on the number two in Britain. That isn't how it works."
Crolla is now hoping to get back in the ring on the big Manchester show in April after being forced out of a fight with John Simpson on March 1 owing to a cut picked up in sparring.
His absence in Glasgow has given Murray just the opportunity he needs, and it is he who will now fight Simpson in a 10-round contest on the Burns vs Terence Crawford undercard.