LANCASTER- At five foot seven, 115 pounds, he looked like an unstoppable force in the ring. After defeating Frank Saunderson at Ray Casal’s Boxing Club in Niagara Falls, during the Fight Night III Amateur Boxing Tournament held Sept. 8, Collin Murray of Lancaster walked away with his first trophy.
Training for the past few months at Goomba’s Boxing Club in Lancaster, this was Murray’s first fight and it was learned that it certainly won’t be his last. Heading into the ring, Murray fought Saunderson’s in three, one and a half minute rounds.
“It was the longest four minutes and 30 seconds ever,” Murray said, a 14-year-old freshman at Lancaster High School.
Following in the footsteps of his father, who used to box at Lancaster’s Orioles Boxing Club, Murray commented he always wanted to start boxing and when Goomba’s opened it gave him the opportunity to pursue his dream.
“I like the mental part of boxing. That you have to out think the person you’re fighting,” remarked Murray. “I like that you have to be a step ahead of the person and kind of know what they are going to do next.”
Owner of Goomba’s Boxing Club, Joe Skubis, who is also Murray’s trainer, manager, and promoter, noticed Murray’s determination and interest for the sport when he first walked through the door of his club.
“He came to me with a little bit of an interest and that interest got hungrier and hungrier,” Skubis said. “I seen that he was picking everything up really quickly and there was no reason why he couldn’t advance, none.”
Taking Murray to the next step, it was then decided he was going to go head-to head with another fighter, but not without first properly preparing and training Murray for what was sure to be the biggest event so far in his life.
Starting at the basics and then becoming a little more advanced, Murray learned a variety of techniques to use in the ring and training also consisted of running every day to try to build up his lungs.
The day of the fight was fast approaching and after months of preparing, the day finally arrived.
“There was a lot going through my mind like what was going to happen? What was it going to be like? How were my hands going to be wrapped? Everything that you could possible think of,” said Murray. “I wasn’t really nervous until I actually had to walk up to the ring, but I kept thinking in mind that I was going to win it.”
Skubis said out of all the fights that night, Murray looked like he was a professional boxer.
“He wasn’t in there swimming,” said Skubis. “He kept tight. Cool, calm, and collected and he remembered everything I taught him and he resorted back to basics, all the fundamentals came back to him. He learned and he did good.”
During the fight, Murray said that even though he did a lot of running prior he got tired quickly. All the energy just pushed out of him right away and after the first round he was tired and the second round his leg started to shake. It was also the first time in the ring, Murray suffered a bloody nose but he didn’t even know until after the fight was finished.
“You really don’t feel the punches until after, until everything cools, and you get used to it,” remarked Murray. “I wasn’t really so much scared of being hit than of doing something wrong or being embarrassed in there, but your adrenaline takes over and you’re not really scared of being hit or anything.”
Just like a champion, Skubis said Murray calmed himself down and pulled through it.
“He’s properly trained for it so no matter what situation he gets into he can adapt and overcome it,” Skubis remarked. “He is a well-rounded fighter. So, no matter whom he steps into the ring with his confidence is up and he knows he is going to walk away victorious.”
And that is exactly what Murray did.
“It felt better winning than any other sport,” said Murray, who also plays basketball. “It felt good to have my hand raised in the middle of the ring with everybody standing around knowing you won. It is just a really good feeling that you can’t really explain.”
Murray will be getting back in the ring and Skubis said he is definitely going to be Goomba’s up and coming fighter.
As of right now, next year Murray plans to compete in the Silver Glove Tournament, which is the biggest event he can get into at his age level.
“He is going to stick with it and be the next silver champion in his weight class,” said Skubis.
When he is a little older, Murray’s next step will be to compete for the golden gloves.
“I learned that you really have to work for what you want and if I would have blown through this and not taken it seriously and taken it easy on my workouts, I would have never of won the fight,” said Murray.
Anyone interested in learning more about the club call 507-7542 or check out their Facebook page. The club is located at 11 West Main St, Lancaster and is opened from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.