John Murray has long been a favorite among the English boxing fraternity and the Manchester man delivered the goods against Lee Meager during a hard-nosed scrap in July, winning the British title. But keeping the belt could prove harder than winning it.
Just 24, Murray has racked up a 25-0 (13) record since joining the paid ranks over five years ago and saved his best performance for his most recent bout, a thrilling back and forth war against Salford's former British titlist Meager, who took too much punishment for referee Howard Foster to let continue past five rounds at Robin Park Centre in Wigan.
Murray will return to the same venue on January 17 when the Mancunian defends his belt for the first time by meeting the challenge of Scotland's "Aberdeen Assassin", Lee McAllister, trained by the famed Ingle family of Sheffield.
McAllister, 25-1 (5), doesn't have the same sterling reputation as the British champion but does bring a 20 bout win streak to Wigan, along with the WBU belts at both lightweight and light welter.
The 26 year old Scot has boxed above the welterweight limit on six occasions and will be the biggest man that Murray has ever faced as a professional. But that won't mean anything if McAllister can't nullify the edge in handspeed and footwork that Murray will likely enjoy in the pairing.
Despite losing in five rounds, Meager exposed a few weaknesses in Murray, who he found without any difficulty with bodyshots and a lead right hand but Meager's poor defense led to his downfall and McAllister must avoid the combination punching ability of Murray or he too will fail.