Martin Murray returns against Max Bursak in Monte Carlo
By Mesuli Zifo
AFTER his less than stellar performance on his South African debut when he seemed disinterested, British boxing star Martin Murray will return to action in Monte Carlo, Monaco when he takes on Max Bursak in middleweight non title fight on June 21.
Murray scored a seven rounds stoppage of over-matched Ghananian Ishmael Tetteh in his Golden Gloves Promotion debut on Wednesday night at Emperors Palace.
However his performance left ringsiders begging for more given his hype around his signing with GGP and his gutsy display in world title challenges against Felix Sturm in 2011 and Sergio Martinez in April last year.
In both fights Murray (21-1-1, 12 KOs) was considered unlucky not to walk away with the WBA and WBC crowns when his clash against Sturm was declared a draw in Germany while he came up short against Martinez in Argentine.
He rebounded with a win over Sergey Khomitsky and following that he cut ties with Hatton Promotions to team up with GGP in a surprising move.
However after his pedestrian showing against Tetteh who quit at the end of round six, questions are being asked if he still has it in him.
GGP boss Rodney Berman admitted that Murray did not light up the house with his performance but attributed his lacklustre display to inactivity.
“Martin obviously needs some rounds to wear off the ring-rust and that is why we are bringing him back on June 21,” he said.
The clash against Bursak will top a double world title show also featuring Ilunga Makabu battling for the WBA interim cruiserweight crown against Polish Mateusz Masternak.
Hekkie Budler will risk his WBA and IBO mini-flyweight titles against Thailand's Pigmy Kokeitgym otherwise known as Muangchaiyaphum.
Dubbed “KO At The Casino”the card is a continuation of Berman's deal with the owners of the resort Monte Carlo that started last June and has seen world class boxers such as WBA middleweight king being featured on two occasions.
The 31-year-old Murray is being steered towards a world title challenge in November but he will need to look the part after the Wednesday's showing.
Bursak will offer a much more challenge than Tetteh who is still under question on whether he should be paid his purse for the fight.
The 29-year-old Ukrainian is coming off a February loss to Jarrod Fletcher coincidentally in a Berman promoted show in Monte Carlo in a fight in which he put on a good performance despite getting points deducted by South African referee Stan Christodoulou in round two and 11.
The loss was only his second with the other coming at the hands of Hassam N'Dam N'Jikam in a WBO interim clash, and a draw in 32 bouts scoring 12 stoppages.
Murray was ironically scheduled to feature in the February show against the selfsame Fletcher but withdrew citing an injury.
While the jury is still out there about Murray's future, one boxer who is confident of leaving a lasting impression on the show is Makabu who is determined to land a shot against the winner of this weekend's clash between Guillermo Jones and Denis Lebedev.
But he will have to get past the Polish fighter who boasts 32 wins with a single loss with 23 knockouts although Makabu has faced better opposition in his 17 bouts with 15 stoppages and a loss.