By Shaun Brown
Martin Murray 27-1-1 (12) is now in a much better place thanks to Rodney Berman and his Golden Gloves Promotional group based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The former World Middleweight title challenger became a free agent in February when Hatton Promotions announced that they would not be renewing the 31 year old’s contract thus ending their five year relationship with the fighter.
Pastures new then for the man from St. Helens but first that meant speaking to other promoters from around the world. In the end, however, there was only one that proved too good to turn down.
“To be honest this deal we got with Rodney, there was no way anyone could better it,” Murray recently told BoxingScene.
“We spoke to other promoters, some well-known names but the decision was easy to make. The only one who didn’t come in was Eddie Hearn. God knows what reason because he’s not got any other [world] middleweight. We spoke to him [Berman], he seemed like a genuine fella, he spoke about Golden Gloves and the deal was too good to be true. I want to fight, it’s never been about being on telly or being recognized.
That side of it is nice but it’s a job and this was the best deal for me in terms of my job and my family.
Murray’s South African adventure began with an all-important victory against Ishmael Tetteh 29-11-2 (16) after the Ghanaian failed to come out for the seventh of their ten round contest last month at Emperors Palace in Gauteng. And he didn’t have to wait too long for his next fight to be announced either. Jun 21, Monte Carlo sees Murray take on former European Middleweight champion, Max Bursak 29-2-1 (12) for the vacant WBC Silver Middleweight title. Murray is thrilled that he can move on from each fight knowing that his promoter has another date lined up for him already.
“I went from my last fight straight into a date. I know when I’m next fighting after this. It’s great just to have those dates and have that communication with my promoter. I’m a lot happier with having regular dates and dates to work towards rather than just training and being told ‘Oh you could be fighting’. I’m with a promoter who is planning big things for me. Hopefully if all goes right there’ll be a fight for a world title.”
The former winner of Prizefighter: The Middleweights back in 2008 went on record to tell ‘Scene that he wouldn’t have left Hatton Promotions if he had been fighting more regularly.
“I can’t bad mouth the Hattons because as well as the hard work I put in myself, which is the most important thing, they got me some opportunities and I can’t knock them for that and I won’t. My only thing was that I was so inactive and left on the shelf. That was the reason I left them. If I’d been getting regular fights I wouldn’t have left them. I was left with no alternative. In terms of how I’m feeling now, even from the beginning of the year, I’m in a far better place.”
Murray knows that a win next month will put him in the frame for another world title opportunity. The prize for a win over Bursak could not only be the WBC Silver title but also the prospect of facing the winner between WBC World Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (in what would be a rematch from their April 2013 bout) and three-weight world champion Miguel Cotto who fight two weeks earlier at Madison Square Garden, New York.
“The fact this is for the WBC Silver takes me closer to them. I’ll be watching it even more closely now,” said Murray.
“Like all the elite middleweights, when they fight, I’ve got my eye on them because of me being in the mix. I could end up fighting them so I had one eye on them anyway.”
That doesn’t mean he’ll be taking Bursak lightly next month. In fact, he’s already had the opportunity to study his Ukranian opponent up close and personal.
“I know a quite a bit about him to be honest. I’ve had my eye on him for quite a while. I knew sooner or later we’d end up meeting and fighting. I was ringside watching him in Monte Carlo in February (Bursak lost a UD12 to Jarrod Fletcher) so I know a lot about him. I know he’s fought and beat [Nick] Blackwell, Prince Arron, he’s a former European champion and he’s a good fighter. It’s a tough and it’s a fight that I can really get up for.”
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