By Adrian Warren
Garth Wood's loss has been Jarrod Fletcher's gain, with the accomplished Queensland boxer to fight Britain's Martin Murray for the regular World Boxing Association (WBA) middleweight world title in Monte Carlo in February.
Wood was supposed to meet Murray for the WBA interim middleweight title in Sydney on December 11, but it was cancelled after the Anthony Mundine-Shane Mosley bout was rescheduled to just two weeks before that date.
With WBA titleholder Gennady Golovkin upgraded to "Super" champion status, Fletcher - the No.3-ranked contender - will tackle the No.1-rated Murray for the regular title on February 1.
Captain of the Australian boxing team at the 2008 Olympics and a 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, 30-year-old Fletcher has a 17-1 record, with his sole loss being a second-round stoppage at the hands of Englishman Billy Joe Saunders.
"This is my first chance at a world title and not only am I looking forward to showcasing myself, but I'm looking forward to bringing the WBA world title back to Australia," Fletcher said.
"I've travelled around the world during my career and I'm really excited by the chance to fight in Monte Carlo, showing the world that, despite a loss last year, I belong at the top of this division.
"I'm on a good winning run at the moment and that'll continue," added Fletcher, who has won five in a row.
Murray 31, (26-1-1) drew with the then WBA super middleweight world champion Felix Sturm in Germany in late 2011 and won an interim version of the WBA middleweight title in November 2012.
Earlier this year, he lost on points to celebrated Argentine Sergio Martinez in a challenge for the World Boxing Council (WBC) middleweight title. "I know Fletcher's a good kid with a solid pedigree," Murray said.
Golovkin will also fight on the Monte Carlo card, taking on Ghana's Osumanu Adama, who was beaten in Hobart last year by Australia's former dual middleweight world champion Daniel Geal.