By Jake Donovan
Martin Murray is either a glutton for punishment, or confident that the third time will be a charm.
The top-rated middleweight contender once again hits the road for his next fight, a showdown with Garth Wood on December 11 in Sydney, Australia.
"[M]y next fight is confirmed for December 11th in Sydney against Garth Wood," Murray announced overnight on his Twitter feed. "He's a tough opponent who'll be up for it so I'll be on my game."
The bout will come eight months after Murray's last ring appearance, a brave showing versus lineal middleweight king Sergio Martinez in the champion's native Argentina. Many felt the performance delivered by the traveling Brit–which included a mid-rounds knockdown–was enough to annex the crown, but settled for a moral victory in actual defeat as he was handed a narrow points loss.
Neither fighter has fought since, though the evening took far more out of the aged victor. Martinez is idle until at least next spring.
Murray (25-1-1, 11KO) had been chomping at the bit to return to the ring, which prompted the anxious leap forward when presented with the opportunity to once again travel abroad. The 31-year old has yet to find success beyond UK borders; his lone other blemish was a hard-fought 12-round draw versus then-middleweight titlist Felix Sturm in their Dec. '11 tilt.
Wood (12-3-1, 8KO) first gained popularity for his role on the boxing reality show "The Contender: Australia", winning the finals in Jan. '10. His claim to fame came on the tail end of the year, however, after scoring a major upset in a knockout win over countryman Anthony Mundine.
The rematch went in favor of Mundine, taking a unanimous decision though in a bout that saw Wood offer a respectable account of himself. His next fight was a harsh dose of reality, dropping a landslide decision to Sam Soliman. He has since won two straight entering this fight.
The winner will be in line to challenge Gennady Golovkin, providing the unbeaten middleweight titlist gets past American challenger Curtis Stevens in his November 2 title defense in New York City.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox