Unique bout aims to raise cash for medical treatment

Amateur boxer Ross Love is fighting to help friend Murray Muir. Picture: Lesley Martin
Amateur boxer Ross Love is fighting to help friend Murray Muir. Picture: Lesley Martin
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Boxer Ross Love is taking on the fight of his life to help his paralysed friend get back on his feet.

Murray Muir was the victim of a random attack which left his spine so badly damaged that he was told he’d never walk again.

But he refused to give up, and set his sights on raising £35,000 for stem-cell treatment which could help restore feeling to his damaged legs.

So far Murray, 39, has raised £27,000 towards the groundbreaking treatment in Panama.

Now old schoolmate Ross, also 39, has stepped in to help raise the final amount by taking part in an unusual boxing match.

The Scottish amateur lightweight champ is taking on a 12-round challenge, boxing against a different opponent for each three-minute round.

It’s unlike anything he’s ever done before. In fact, a typical bout for Ross is just three or four rounds lasting just two minutes each.

With each of his opponents coming out fresh and fighting, it will be the most exhausting fight of his life.

“You can’t compare it to anything else, it’s going to be tough mentally and physically,” said Ross, from Leith.

“I’ll be getting more and more tired and banged up, while the guys I’m fighting are coming in fresh and ready.”

The challenge has echoes of the famous boxing exhibition staged by heavyweight champ George Foreman in 1975 when he took on five boxers, one after the other, in one night.

It’s hoped the fundraising match will mean paraplegic Murray could be on his way for life-changing treatment within months.

His life changed in a split second of random violence outside Bar Seine in Leith Walk in 2007.

“We’d gone outside for a smoke when this car came up and these people appeared,” said Murray. “Next thing, I heard a ‘snap’. I tried to pull myself up, but my legs weren’t working.”

Murray was stabbed from behind and the wound damaged his spine. His attackers vanished and have never been traced.

He spent six months in hospital, during which time he developed meningitis and a serious blood clot the size of a golf ball. He also had to fight off the potentially life-threatening MRSA bug.

Murray was told he’d never walk again, but refused to give up and spent hours researching stem-cell treatments, which have been hailed as a wonder remedy.

The treatment Murray hopes to have isn’t available in the UK, so he plans to go to a clinic in Panama, where stem cells from his bone marrow will be removed and injected into his spinal column.

It’s hoped the stem cells will encourage the damaged nerve endings in his spine to repair themselves, helping to return feeling to his legs.

Murray said: “At the moment I could pour boiling water over my legs and not feel a thing – in fact, that’s happened several times already.

“I hope it will help with the neuropathic pain I have. That can be like an electric shock through my whole body, it’s like a red-hot poker.”

Ross, the current 60kg Amateur Boxing Association Scotland champ, is juggling daily training sessions around night shifts as a scaffolder.

The bout, at Portobello Town Hall on Friday, is already sold out, but a fundraising page has been set up for donations here.