Despite news reports leaking Martin Murray’s opportunity of a lifetime – an April clash against THE RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in Argentina – the unbeaten contender from St. Helen’s, Merseyside in England remains focused on his next bout scheduled for Nov. 24 in Manchester.
Murray (24-0-1, 10 knockouts) doesn’t want to talk about the Martinez fight, which has become the worst kept secret in the sport after Reuters picked up an Argentine news report leaking the story.
Instead, he says he is directing his attention towards Jorge Navarro, the 12-0 (10 KOs) middleweight from Bolivar, Venezuela whom he will face at the Manchester Arenain the chief supporting bout of former two-division champion Ricky Hatton’s comeback bout against Vyacheslav Senchenko.
“I’ve got a tough fight on Nov. 24with an unbeaten, hungry and dangerous fighter so I’m focusing and concentrating on him at the minute and that’s it,” the 30-year-old contender told RingTV.com. “Hopefully everything goes well in that fight and then we can talk about Martinez.”
Murray-Navarro will be contested for the interim WBA title.
Murray’s stock has been high since his draw with then-WBA middleweight titleholder Felix Sturm last December in Sturm’s backyard of Germany in a bout where Murray’s hand could very well have been raised in victory. Murray has since returned to decision Frenchman Karim Achour in June.
Murray admits that he doesn’t know much about Navarro, who has fought exclusively in Venezuela and Panama and has faced just one opponent coming off of a victory in his previous fight.
“I don’t know much about Navarro apart from that he’s a puncher and he will be dangerous,” he said. “I’m expecting him to be tough and that’s what we’ve trained for.”
Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs) is coming off his career-defining victory over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in September, where he dominated the first 11 rounds before being knocked down in the final stanza. Martinez recently underwent arthroscopic surgery in Spain to repair a partially torn meniscus in his right knee.
The 20,000-seat Manchester Arena – which was previously known as the M.E.N. Arena and staged many of Hatton’s signature bouts – was sold out within hours, before Hatton had even announced his opponent.
“It’s great to have Ricky back in the sport,” said Murray, who is promoted by “The Hitman” under the Hatton Promotions label. “His comeback has generated so much excitement and I’m looking forward to fighting in front of such a big audience.”
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel and can be reached at email@example.com. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.