Undefeated British middleweight Martin Murray insists he is ready to take the WBA title from long-time German champion Felix Sturm next month — even if it is an opportunity he never expected at this stage of his career.
But to achieve his dream the 29-year-old from St Helens, Merseyside, must beat Sturm, The RING’s No. 1-ranked middleweight, in his own backyard at the SAP-Arena, Baden-Württemberg, on Dec 3.
That’s a daunting task. Just ask British contender Mathew Macklin, who suffered a controversial split-decision loss to Sturm (36-2-1, 15 knockouts) on German soil in June. Yet Murray (23-0, 10 KOS), the British, Commonwealth and WBA International titleholder, is convinced he can defy the odds and return as the new champion.
“It’s a massive opportunity and I plan on making the most of it,” said Murray on Sky Sports’ Ringside show. “Ideally, if it had come in two, three, maybe four fights time then, fair enough, I would have been a bit more prepared for it.
“But the chance has come now and I’ve taken it. I can’t sit about and wait for a chance that I might never get again. I know I’ve got a hard fight in front of me. It’s a massive step up in levels. But I’m willing to go over there and I believe I can do the job on him.”
Although Murray, managed by Ricky Hatton, saw nothing to worry him when Sturm beat Macklin in the summer, he believes the man from Cologne, who has not lost in more than five years, will be a different proposition this time round.
“When Sturm did let his shots go, he did look world class — and I think he timed himself better over the 12 rounds. But I also think he underestimated Macklin. I thought he’d make an easier night’s work of it than he did,” said Murray.
“But he’s not going to make the same mistake again. He‘s going to want to put on a good show and he will be at his best. But whether he’s his best or he’s under-par, I can beat him. People have not seen the best of me — they’ve only seen 50 per cent of me. I know the better the opponent, the better I’ll fight.”