Advertisement: IBO Boxing

Martin Murray: Saunders Fight A Few Years Late But We're Both Looking Forward To It

Martin Murray has been waiting more than two years for this opportunity, though it’s redemption and not obsession which fuels his desire.

The hard-luck veteran contender from St. Helens, Merseyside receives his fifth career title fight, the latest coming in a domestic clash with countryman and reigning super middleweight titlist Billy Joe Saunders. The bout takes place this Friday, live on Sky Sports and DAZN from The SSE Arena, Wembley, coming nearly 30 months after the two were due to collide.

Murray was in line to contend for Saunders’ middleweight title, with their bout twice postponed in 2018. Saunders would never go on to make another title defense at 160, having since moved up in weight where he claimed a 168-pound title at stake this weekend.

“This is going to be my fifth (title opportunity). I know how hard it’s going to be,” Murray admitted during Wednesday’s final pre-fight press conference. “We really rate Billy Joe. We’ve got unfinished business. But everything happens for a reason.

“I firmly believe and truly believe that the pullouts years ago and the setbacks have turned me to this point. I’m fit, I’m focused and I’m ready.”


Murray (39-5-1, 17KOs) was riding a modest three-fight win streak heading into his scheduled March 2018 clash with Hatfield’s Saunders (29-0, 14KOs), who withdrew due to a hand injury. The fight was postponed to later that June, only for Saunders to this time claim a hamstring injury as the reason for pulling out of their fight.

The date remained in place, with Murray settling for a 12-round win versus late replacement Roberto Garcia. From there came a path to one more title shot, though falling short in a 12-round decision to Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in their December 2018 middleweight eliminator.

At 36 years of age at the time and four failed attempts at becoming a champion, it was believed to be Murray’s last chance. A disputed 12-round draw with Felix Sturm in December 2011 denied Murray a middleweight title, as did a questionable 12-round unanimous decision in favor of then-lineal middleweight king Sergio Martinez in April 2013.

The lone convincing loss for Murray at the title level came in a one-sided 11th round stoppage at the hands of then unbeaten titlist Gennady Golovkin in February 2015. A move to super middleweight followed, where three straight knockouts paved the way for a crack at then 168-pound titlist Arthur Abraham who escaped with a 12-round split decision win in November 2015.

“Sturm was nine years ago… Sturm, Martinez. I thought I won the fight against Abraham as well but I left it too close to call in Germany,” admits Murray, who has won two straight but has been out since last November. “On Friday, I’m just happy I have the chance to lay it all on the line and leave it all in the ring.”

This time—and perhaps his last chance at this level—at least comes with unfinished business.

“Obviously, it hurt. I get why he did it. He wanted bigger fights, we all do,” Murray says of their 2018 title fight never coming to pass. “I was frustrated at the time but left it where it was.

“I’ve got nothing against Billy. But he’s here now and he’s honored his word. It’s a few years late, but no doubt we’re both looking forward to it. He’s in top condition himself. We’re gonna lay it all on the line and it’s gonna be a great fight.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by BlackR0bbb on 12-04-2020

Most fighters don't get five bites at the apple across two divisions like this. Murray is a big, strong, durable gatekeeper, but the fact that he lost to someone like N'dam two years ago tells me that he has no…

Comment by VashDBasher on 12-04-2020

This is Murray’s final chance at a world title shot. I hope he brings out the best in him and puts on a brilliant performance. This is wishful thinking, but I’d love to see him give Saunders hell.

Comment by RoadMan94 on 12-04-2020

Always been a Saunders Fan. Was only one out my circle who was sure he was gonna beat Eubank Jr years ago. Watched a Jamie Moore interview earlier, and it’s actually got my heart pulling for Murray, simply for the…

Top Headlines
David Benavidez Demands Caleb Plant Fight, Eyes Canelo Alvarez Demetrius Andrade: I Never Ducked Charlo, That's Crazy! Povetkin-Whyte Rematch Could Go To Gibraltar, Monaco or Middle East Victor Pasillas Grinding Hard For Ra'eese Aleem Clash Chantelle Cameron: Let's See if Melissa Hernandez Backs Up Her Talk McGregor's Boxing Coach: 85-90% Chance Pacquiao Fight Happens Whyte: I Want To Smash Povetkin's Face In, He Pretends To Be Nice Guy - He Will Pay! Hafthor Bjornsson Pumped To Face Ward, Then 'Biggest Enemy' Eddie Hall Shane McGuigan Rates The Top Five Lightweights Josh Taylor: Teofimo Lopez's Ego Has Exploded, I'd Like To Cut Him Down To Size! Fury vs. Joshua: Hearn Receiving Offers From Several Countries To Host Ryan Garcia Aims To Retire Early, Open To a Future Run in MMA McGuigan: Eubank Jr. Has a Good Chance Against Golovkin, Charlo, Murata Ra'eese Aleem Putting in Work For Victor Pasillas Showtime Clash Demetrius Andrade-Liam Williams Middleweight Title Fight Re-Ordered By WBO Kovalev vs. Melikuziev Officially Canceled After Failed Drug Test Charr-Bryan, Shumenov-Murphy Announced By King as PPV Stream, Jan. 29 Povetkin-Whyte PPV Card: Wardley-Molina, Cheeseman-Metcalf, Campbell Hatton Povetkin-Whyte, Warrington-Lara, Okolie-Glowacki Among Matchroom Fights Announced Rey Vargas Moves Up To Featherweight, Named WBC Mandatory Challenger To Gary Russell Jr. Euro News: Faust, EC Boxing, Kraft, Patera vs. Boschiero, More Inoue, Dasmarinas Reach Terms For Mandatory Title Fight, Purse Bid Cancelled Angelo Leo: Wasn't My Best Performance Last Fight, Fans Didn't Get To See Best Of Me Yet Billy Joe Saunders Rules Out Caleb Plant Fight, Citing Politics: It's A Waste of Breath Haney: If Garcia Don't Want It, We'll Keep Going Down The Line To Teofimo or Fortuna McGregor: Pacquiao Talks Intensifying For Fight This Year, I'll Win Boxing Title Before Retiring Andres Campos Aims To Land Nakatani or Dalakian Title Shot Takuma Inoue Pounds Keita Kurihara For Technical Decision Win Liam Williams Ready For Chris Eubank Jr: I'm Supremely Confident I'd Beat Him! Hearn Cautions The WBO: Fury-Joshua is Bigger Than The Belts Hopkins: Melikuziev's Team Confident He Would Have KO'd Sergey Kovalev Salita Brothers Donate, Distribute Thousands of Books to Non-Profit Organizations Tevin Farmer: I'll Take Rematch With Joseph Diaz On 4 Weeks' Notice; IBF Should Order It Arum: Fury Told Me He Will Never Fight Wilder For a Third Time Julio Cesar Martinez Must Face McWilliams Arroyo, Says WBC Prez Rances Barthelemy Aims To Impress on Plant vs. Truax Card Weights: Hafthor Bjornsson 344-Pounds, Steven Ward 217-Pounds Kell Brook Ready For Amir Khan: I'm Confident I'd Knock Him Out! Hearn: Usyk Should Fight Joyce For WBO-Interim, It Could Become Full Title Victor Pasillas Discusses Showtime Clash With Ra’eese Aleem
Latest Forum Threads