England’s Martin Murray won’t be attending this weekend’s superfight in London – he’s too busy focusing on preparation for his June 21 fight that tops the Golden Gloves “KO at the Casino” tournament in Monte Carlo. The smooth-hitting middleweight (27-1-1, 12 KOs) meets Max Bursak (29-2-1, 12 KOs) of the Ukraine in a fight for the WBC Silver title. With Murray’s ambitions squarely on a touted world championship fight in November, he knows anything but a convincing victory won’t be good enough.
Speaking from his home in St Helens, in the north of England, Murray said he had taken just a week off since his return from South Africa five weeks ago. While there, he produced a routine sixth-round stoppage of Ghana’s Ishmael Tetteh in a “keep-busy” fight. “I’m at a high level of fitness and my nutrition is spot-on. I’ve done plenty of work and am on track with just a few weeks to go. Sparring has been great . . . I can’t wait to get out there.”
Having been present in Monte Carlo for Bursak’s last fight, a decision loss to WBA No 2 Jarrod Fletcher in February, Murray has a good idea of what to expect. More recently he’s been studying DVD’s of the European champion. “There’s stuff you can work on, but what you see is what you get. He’s tough, in your face, a brawler. But I’ll be ready for him, I’ll have too much skill.”
After the setback of controversially losing to WBC champion Sergio Martinez last April, Murray says his focus has solidly been on rebuilding. His last fight, against Tetteh, enabled him to “shake the cobwebs off” and this match-up, he hopes, will propel him into the championship mix again.
The middleweight division is very fluid with major fights coming up for WBC champion Martinez (against Miguel Cotto) and WBA champion Gennady Golovkin, all of whom are on Murray’s radar.
While he won’t be in London to watch Carl Froch do battle again with George Groves, he says he won’t miss it for the world and will be watching on television.
“I’d be there, except it will mess with my preparation. I expect Frochie to win. He’s been in a lot of wars and the last fight was his worst performance. But I think he’s still got a big fight in him and will be well up for it. He’ll be looking to put it straight. I reckon it will be a pretty close fight.”
Murray’s own performance will come under scrutiny in three weeks’ time. His challenge for the Silver title takes him closer to all the big names in the division. It’s up to him just how much he wants to impress them.