World-ranked Martin Murray’s June 21 middleweight bout against Max Bursak in Monte Carlo has been sanctioned by the WBC for the vacant Silver belt. This is in recognition of Murray’s standing among the world’s elite middleweights and follows former holder Patrick Nielsen opting to fight for the WBA Interim title next month. Murray is rated #4 by the WBC.
The Briton heads the “KO at the Casino” tournament in Monaco, a first class bill that now also includes unbeaten former IBO super-middleweight champion Tommy Oosthuizen (22-0-2, 13 KOs) of South Africa. A scheduled WBA interim cruiserweight title clash between Mateusz Masternak (32-1, 23 KOs) and Ilunga Makabu (16-1, 15 KOs) is now off.
“This is a giant step towards securing Martin a crack at the world title,” said Berman from his base in Johannesburg. “Hopefully the smoke clears after the Sergio Martinez –Miguel Cotto WBC championship fight next month and Martin comes into the reckoning. He’s been more than patient and is one of the few fighters with a legitimate chance of toppling any of the champions.”
Oosthuizen, meanwhile, will make his light-heavyweight debut against former African champion Doudou Ngumbu (31-5, 11 KOs) of the DRC, who is based in France.
Southpaw Oosthuizen hasn’t fought since November, having endured a troubled few months in which he broke from his promoter (and later reconciled) and also had a stint in rehabilitation. Fortunately he is back in the gym and returned to full fitness, hoping to make an impact on the exciting light-heavyweight division.
In another development, Golden Gloves is on the verge of announcing a replacement fight following Junior Makabu reneging on his contract and thus forfeiting his place on the Monte Carlo bill. The cruiserweight abruptly walked out on Golden Gloves last week.
“This has now become a legal matter,” said Berman.