FINGERS intertwined, face carved from stone, boxer Drew Docherty

squared up to confront his fears and emotions yesterday when he spoke

publicly for the first time about the death of his ring rival, James


Looking down at his fists clenched on the table, he announced: ''I

have decided that I will fight on.''

In a quiet voice the Condorrat fighter said that before considering

even training, he would undergo special counselling.

Chillingly, he nodded. Yes, he was aware that the crumpled figure,

lying fatally injured in the corner of that ring at Glasgow's

Hospitality Inn, could equally easily have been him.

Anguish etched on his features, he choked: ''Jimmy . . . '' paused,

shook his head, '' . . . the last round -- it could have gone either


Since their fateful Friday 13th encounter, after which Murray

underwent brain surgery but never regained consciousness, 29-year-old

Docherty had agonised over his own future during a spell in Cyprus with

his fiancee, Caroline, and daughter, Rachel. The decision, however, was

his alone. ''It was left entirely to me. She knows -- it's my job.''

Flanked by manager Tommy Gilmour, whose hand protectively clasped his

fighter's left wrist when media interrogation plucked at too-raw nerves,

Docherty confirmed that he had reached his decision only thanks to the

support of his own family and of Murray's parents, Kenneth and Margaret,

who were contacted yesterday before he went public with his intentions.

''If it was me, my own mother and father would not have held it

against Jim Murray,'' said Docherty.

Though talks with his younger brother, Wilson, also a champion

fighter, helped make up his mind, it was the sympathy and understanding

of Kenneth Murray, the dead man's father, which carried the greatest


''I found it incredible that he was able to say, after such a blow,

that he wanted me to continue my career, and also that boxing should not

be banned,'' Docherty revealed.

However, he will receive bereavement counselling before restarting

training, which, says Gilmour, may yet be another three or four weeks.

''You don't know what is in your mind,'' confessed Docherty. ''Maybe if

you hurt a guy with a punch, you may not want to hit him again. But you

can't be like that if you're a boxer.''

Tactlessly, he was asked if he had suffered nightmares. One must sleep

to have a nightmare. Docherty replied: ''The first three days I could

not get a sleep at all, and I still wake up. I don't want to forget

James Murray, but I just want to forget that night.

''While I was away on holiday, I could sometimes put it out of my

mind, but not back here in Glasgow.''

Though nobody he has met blames Docherty, he explained: ''I have been

in the house, because any time I showed my face, people would mention

the fight. They would not mean any harm, and they were asking after me.

But it kept coming up, so I was virtually a recluse.''

Docherty hopes to meet London's Johnny Armour for the European title,

possibly in February, and make a further attempt at the world crown. But

all future contests will be dedicated to 25-year-old James Murray,

pronounced dead in a Glasgow neurosurgery unit two days after their

British bantamweight title fight.

''If I go on to better things, it will be in Jimmy's memory,'' said


It was also announced yesterday that Murray is to have a more tangible

memorial. A fund has been launched for a statue, in full boxing regalia,

to be erected at the cross in Newmains, Lanarkshire, Murray's home town.