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When she first took up kickboxing eight years ago, Newcastle girl Serin Murray never thought she would be fighting a second fight, let alone her fifth world title fight which she will do on Saturday night at Newcastle Panthers.
The 30-year old first got into the sport when a friend suggested they try some kickboxing classes at local gym. Enjoying the sport but realising they wouldn’t be tested in their current classes, they went looking for Rob Murdoch Senior, a well-known kickboxing and thai-boxing trainer in Newcastle.
At that stage she thought she might only have one kickboxing bout – to try it out, so to speak.
But Murray well and truly caught the fighting bug and has been training to fight under Murdoch for the past eight years.
“We’re not a money-making martial arts gym,” she says of her fighting home. “Rob produces fighters there.”
Murdoch recognised a true athlete in Murray, who had competed in other sports
“She’s a complete elite athlete. She’s world class,” he says.
Murray currently holds the ISKA flyweight and bantamweight division titles, having defended them both, and will fight European Champion Ruth Ashdown for the ISKA super fly-weight title on the weekend.
“Ruth is an extremely good fighter. She accepted this fight as soon as she heard about it. It’ll be a world class fight,” says Murdoch.
Murray has already carried at least six kickboxing promotions where she has been the main event and provided an even more entertaining fight than the male fights preceding hers.
“I do think there should be more publicity for females in the sport,” says Murdoch.
Murray never expected to make a living out of the sport. She currently works two jobs as a respite carer with Life Without Barriers and also in the office of a local trucking company.
Dispelling the perception that fighters tend towards violent personalities, Murray points out that as well as herself, two of the fighters in her gym are nurses or carers and mentions another in a nearby kickboxing gym who is a mental health-care worker.
“The stigma around fighters as such is completely wrong. It’s a shame we can’t get the mainstream to recognise that,” she says.
She has managed to convert her family though. Initially her mother couldn’t bring herself to watch her in the ring but now is a very active fan at all of her fights.
As for the future, Murray realises she can’t fight forever but as long as she feels like she is still improving and fighting fit is planning to continue.
“I am running out of opponents in Australia but there are some who might step up and fight me,” she says.
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