MARTIN MURRAY has told arch domestic rival Darren Barker to prove himself as the best in Britain before taking on the world’s best.
Barker’s promoter Eddie Hearn is in talks for Barker to face WBC middleweight title holder Sergio Martinez this autumn.
But WBA ranked number four Murray believes the Londoner should face him before launching his world assault.
Murray attempts to become British middleweight champion on Saturday (June 18) when he meets Nick Blackwell for the vacant crown at Wigan’s Robin Park Arena.
The popular St Helens boxer said: “I know Darren is European champion, but he has had just two fights in 18 months and his promoter is talking about him facing Martinez.
“Never mind a world title for Darren, let’s find out who is the best in Britain after I take care of Blackwell.
“First Matthew Macklin ducked out of fighting me on the Amir Khan-Paul McCloskey bill. I hope Barker is made of stronger stuff!”
Murray’s promoter Ricky Hatton would gladly discuss a fight against Barker once Saaturday’s stern test against Blackwell is done and dusted.
‘The Hitman' added: “Martin is ready. I would put him in with anyone.
“I remember the great fight I had with Jonathan Thaxton to decide who held the bragging rights in Britain, before I moved onto to world titles.”
Murray will also be risking his Commonwealth crown and WBA inter-continental title against Trowbridge’s Blackwell.
Murray added: “I could carry on the way I am going and get a WBA world title fight but I want the best here first and that means facing Barker.”
On the same bill British lightweight champion Anthony Crolla challenges Ghanaian southpaw Osumanu Akaba for the vacant WBA inter-continental lightweight title.
British Olympian Joe Murray boxes for his first professional title in his 11th fight meeting Georgian George Gachechiladze for the IBF internmational featherweight title.
Prospects on the undercard include Adam Little who faces Junior Thompson and Chris Male who will be tested by Dai Davies.
Tickets for this big night of title action are available £35, £55 (Ringside) and £75 VIP Ringside, www.brandhatton.com /0844 847 2500/ 01925 755222