Talking Boxing

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November 12, 2016

The buzz is back for Murray

Murray is still targeting another world title opportunity.


Martin Murray is looking forward to putting 2016 to bed.
2017 will begin with a bit more ambition for Murray, and a bit more to look forward to.

And hopefully no more opponents’ pulling out.
When Talking Boxing spoke to Murray on Tuesday, the St Helens super middleweight was “buzzing”. Not because he was facing Dmitrii Chudinov on Saturday night in Monte Carlo, a more than acceptable late replacement for Arthur Abraham who pulled out of a WBO final eliminator against Murray (33-4-1, 16 KOs) due to injury, but because he was in a better place for this fight week than he was for the one leading up to his last fight against George Groves.

Two days later Chudinov was out of the fight with a virus. In step unbeaten German-based Nigerian Nuhu Lawal (23-0, 13 KOs).

Back to the original interview, TB started things off by asking Murray for what he knew about Arthur Abraham pulling out of their rematch, Abraham having won their first fight on a split decision 12 months ago.

“We were obviously fighting for a WBO final world title eliminator. The winner of me and him was going to fight (champion, Gilberto) Ramirez,” Murray stated.

“Then he [Abraham] got an injury, so he says, which I wasn’t bothered about because I thought at least I’ll still have to fight him for the eliminator. The fight at that point hadn’t disappeared, so it wasn’t that bad. So, I thought I’ll crack on with training, get a fight sorted and still got Abraham in New Year. But then, he got another opponent. I got a text message saying ‘Just letting you know’…, and it had nothing to do with my team it was off someone else. ‘Just letting you know Abraham’s fighting [Robin] Krasniqi'. That kind of put all the injury claims into doubt.

“It obviously wasn’t an injury; he’s used that as an excuse. Then I got told the WBO has ordered them two to fight, but they ordered me and him to fight. Me and Abraham was a final eliminator, but then all of a sudden he doesn’t have to go to Monte Carlo, he has to fight in Germany in a final eliminator against a fella he’s going to win against. I had my pants down again, been done over again and that’s that. The eliminator’s gone, the WBO chance has gone so it’s left me in no man’s land fight wise for a world title.”

The same could be said after Murray lost a unanimous decision to George Groves back in June. The three judges scored the fight 118-110 to ‘The Saint’. The kind of win and name that Groves needed, one that has put him one step nearer to a WBA world super middleweight title fight against, in all probability, Fedor Chudinov next year. For Murray, the curtain could have been called – maybe not on his career but on any more world title opportunities.

The build up to the Groves fight has been a harsh and costly lesson for Murray.

“The loss to Groves, the culmination of being ill and over training and performing like that and everything was the worst it could go. The loss to Groves meaning possible world title fights went further and further away. It was disheartening for me because it was a long, long way back,” said Murray who added that he felt a million miles better than how he felt during the Groves fight week.

Murray had been in training for the all-British affair since February. He didn’t stop. He fought seven weeks before the June date with Groves, against Cedric Spera. A two-round encounter for Murray which kept him busy, nothing else. He continued in the gym, working his socks off.

“It just did me no good, that keep busy fight,” Murray said. “What I should have done, in hindsight, is have that fight and had a week, maybe two weeks off and give my body a chance to recover but I never. I stupidly carried on training and it didn’t work out for me.

He peaked too soon for Groves, and before he knew it he became ill and was put on a course of anti-biotics. A kick in the teeth for Murray, one too many at the time. Throw in the loss to Groves, Murray’s unhappiness at how he performed, and it was perhaps no real surprise that at the start of October he found himself struggling for motivation to go to the gym. It was a rare and real period of uncertainty in his nine-year career.

“All that s**t about true pros having no days off, and f*****g when you sleep I train, and all that b******... it doesn’t work for me. There’s no-one who goes in the gym and trains harder than me. I put everything into every session. I train hard. I trained all year and put 110% into everything, and when the fight comes along I feel s**t. I thought where was the rightness in that? Did I deserve that? I didn’t cut corners.

“It was just tough for me to get going and get the motivation back. I was speaking to my wife about it and she was saying ‘Why don’t you just stop training and go back when you feel like you want to go back’, and I said 'If I do that I might never ever go back'.

“After maybe four weeks I finally turned a corner with it, it was the worst time throughout my career motivation wise that I ever felt like that. It was a new feeling to me and I found it quite difficult to deal with. I got through that now, I’m over it.”
Follow Shaun Brown on Twitter @sbrown2pt0