Martin Murray will face Nuhu Lawal for the WBA Continental Super Middleweight title in Monte-Carlo on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.
Lawal holds the WBA Inter-Continental Middleweight crown having stopped Istvan Szili inside six rounds for the title in June, moving to 23-0 with the win and crashing into the WBA rankings at number 12.
The Nigerian-born German grabs a golden opportunity to claim the prize scalp of Murray after doctors ruled Dmitrii Chudinov out of the bout with a virus.
Murray is looking for a big win to move back into World title contention in 2017, and the St Helens favourite says he’s firing on all cylinders again after defeat to George Groves where he revealed that illness during camp played a big part in his performance.
“Four weeks before I boxed George I was flying in the gym,” said Murray. “If I'd fought him then the outcome would have been completely different. I peaked and then I got ill, I took a couple of courses of antibiotics leading into the fight, so when I fought there was nothing in me. I was shocking and I felt flat.
“I'd been training for the whole year basically so that with the illness took a lot out of me, I didn't do anything in the first half of the fight but I still nearly pulled it out of the bag at the end. I wasn't expecting to lose so when I did, it took a lot out of me.
“I've had a few good holidays since then and took some time out of the gym as I knew that this date was coming, the loss to George did take a lot out of me though. When I lost to George the goal of becoming World champion slipped away a bit but the desire and hunger is still there and I know I am only one win away from getting another shot.
“I need a win that puts me right back into the mix to fight for a Word title and hopefully this fight will be that win. I would move down to Middleweight if I could get the right fights but I just can't seem to get them and there are fights coming at Super-Middleweight.
“I am far from done as a fighter, it's just not worked out right for me. When we do nail it, we know that the wins against the big names will be there. I'm not making any excuses or crying over spilt milk but it just didn't work out for me at Middleweight and I thought I beat Arthur at Super-Middle, but that's just the way it is, that's boxing, the politics of the sport. I dint grumble about it because I know that the World title is still there and I believe that I can beat the World champions at Super-Middleweight.”
Murray’s clash with Lawal is part of a huge night of action in Monte-Carlo as WBA World Bantamweight as the most feared Heavyweight on the planet, ‘King Kong’ Luis Ortiz makes his European debut against Malik Scott.
WBA World Bantamweight king Jamie McDonnell defends his crown against Liberio Solis. It’s the fifth defence for the Doncaster ace, who followed his stoppage win over Javier Chacon with a pair of impressive wins over Tomoki Kameda in Texas last year and stopped Fernando Vargas in nine rounds at The O2 in London this April.
Stephen Smith has a second World title crack, challenging WBA Super-Featherweight kingpin Jason Sosa. Smith travelled to Connecticut to meet IBF ruler Jose Pedraza in April in his first outing for a World belt, and recovered from that points loss with a commanding win over Daniel Brizuela in his hometown of Liverpool a month later. Puerto Rican-American Sosa defends his strap for the first time having ripped the crown from Javier Fortuna in Beijing in June.