Lightweight contenders John Murray and Kevin Mitchell meet Saturday at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, England, in a likely eliminator for a shot at WBA beltholder Brandon Rios.
Murray, from Manchester, and Essex rival Mitchell, both 26, should have fought for the vacant WBO intercontinental title last week in London. But Mitchell had a virus and the event was pulled for seven days.
Now the Murray-Mitchell clash goes ahead on the same show as Ricky Burns’ WBO junior lightweight title defense against Nicky Cook with the winner in line to face Rios, who rubberstamped his class on Saturday by stopping Urbano Antillon in round three.
Talks between Frank Warren, who manages the British pair, and Rios' promoter, Bob Arum are already underway, according to Warren's website.
Certainly, Murray (31-0, 18 knockouts) and Mitchell (31-1, 23 KOs) believe that a showdown with classy Rios looms large for one of them.
"I've seen the Rios fight from the weekend and he looks like a great champion," said Murray, rated four by THE RING. "Once I get this fight with Mitchell out of the way, I've then cleaned up domestically and I want to fight for a world title.
"Rios would be an ideal opponent. I've been to America before and fought over there, so I've got no problem going to the US if that's what it takes to get this fight with Rios. I've always said I want to fight the best."
Mitchell, understandably, sees the situation a little differently.
"Murray can talk up a fight between himself and Rios all he likes, but he's got to get past me first, " said the man from Romford. "I'm going to knock him out on Saturday, so he can kiss goodbye to his dream of becoming a world champion.
"Rios looks like an all-action fighter, so a fight between me and him would be an absolute classic. He's a genuine world champion, and like Murray I want to fight the best, so why not Rios?"