By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
MARTIN MURRAY aims to punch his way to the top after moving up to the super-middleweight ranks.
The St Helens fighter challenged for world titles at middleweight three times and now wants to mix it with the cream of the crop in the 168lbs division.
And he doesn’t have to look far for potential opponents with fellow Brits James DeGale, George Groves and Carl Froch in the top 10.
The 32-year-old said: “We have world-class fighters domestically at super-middleweight and those are the fights I want. There are big fights out there for me.
“George Groves, James DeGale and Carl Froch – they’re all great fighters.
“I want to be in the big fights and they are the ones for me. I can’t wait to be mixing it right at the top.
“I always knew my future lay in the super-middleweights, so the move up from 160lbs to 168lbs seems a natural step.
"It became more apparent because my strength was just drizzling away when it reached the stage of taking the last couple of pounds off before a fight.
“I have always trained and sparred at super middleweight, but always drained right down to make middleweight. Now I can feel comfortable again.”
With Froch’s future still uncertain, IBF champion DeGale and Groves are the two domestic rivals on his radar.
Murray said: “I feel I am at my peak now and want to be in the world title mix at super-middleweight, where we have DeGale as a champ and Groves not far from a world title.”
Murray, who has joined Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom stable, will make his debut at the new weight at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on June 26.
It will be his first fight since suffering an 11th-round TKO at the hands of WBA champion Gennady Golovkin in his last middleweight bout in February.
Murray (29-2-1) has also twice been denied world titles by controversial points decisions – drawing with WBA champion Felix Sturm in 2011 and losing a unanimous decision to WBC king Sergio Martinez last year.
He said: “I’ve been in major fights all over the world, against Sturm in Germany, Martinez in Argentina and Golovkin in France.
“But now I feel it’s time that I had those major fights in the UK and hopefully they will now materialise for me. I am ready for big challenges.
“I’m established as a fighter on the world stage, so it’s not like I’m starting out. I know my way around.
“My goal is to be a world champion and I’ve proved in the past that I will fight anyone.”