A statement on Fletcher's confirmed Facebook page claims, "Martin Murray has pulled out of his scheduled World Title fight with Jarrod 'Left Jab' Fletcher!
'Left Jab' will still fight on the Gennady Golovkin vs Osumanu Adama card, with the announcement of the new opponent to be made as soon as possible!"
Attempts to seek comment from Murray and Hatton Promotions, his promoter went unreturned as this story is published.
Fletcher (17-1, 10KO) has won five straight following the lone loss of his career, a 2nd round knockout at the hands of Billy Joe Saunders, a member of the 2008 Great Britain Olympic boxing squad, in Sept. 2012. The bout took place on Saunders' turf in the U.K., marking the lone time in his career Fletcher has fought outside of his native Australia.
Plans still call for Fletcher to make his second road trip and remain on the Monte Carlo bill.
I'm a little disappointed but there is no point in getting down. I'm still fighting which is the main thing," says Fletcher, viewing the glass half-full. "
I just have to focus on my preparation which is going well. Just over three weeks to go until fight time.
"It doesn't matter who I fight, I'm focused and ready for this!"
The bout was to be fought for one of the many versions of the WBA title floating around, despite the fact that Golovkin is a full owner of the belt and fighting in the main event. Should Fletcher still remain in the running to fight for a knockoff version of the belt, it would have to come against a fighter presently in the sanctioning body's Top 15 middleweight rankings.
Murray was the top-rated contender, a position he held following his strong showing versus lineal middleweight king Sergio Martinez last April. Fletcher is rated number three, with countryman Daniel Geale wedged in between them. Plans were just confirmed for
Geale to face fellow Aussie middleweight Garth Wood
(rated #13) next month in Sydney.
The next two highest rated contenders are unbeaten Danish middleweight Patrick Nielsen and Ukraine's Max Bursak. Nielsen (21-0, 10KO) is slated to appear in his native Denmark on February 15, though an opponent has not yet been secured. Bursak is coming off of an eight-round points win last December, and presently doesn't have a fight scheduled.
Still remaining on the show, former strawweight king Nkosinathi Joyi bids for a vacant junior flyweight belt in a scheduled 12-round bout versus Filipino spoiler Rey Loreto. Cruiserweight banger Ilunga 'Junior' Makabu is still seeking a replacement for Cleverly in his scheduled 10-round preliminary bout.
Television rights are still being sought to have the show air in the United States. Cable giant HBO, who prominently showcased Golovkin in three of his four fights in 2013, is attempting to work out the kinks to have its sister network, HBO2 pick up the feed, but talks remain preliminary.
Golovkin's lone fight among his four in 2013 to not air on HBO was his first trip to Monte Carlo, scoring one the year's best knockouts in drilling Nobuhiro Ishida inside of three rounds last March.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America.