By Jamie Gavin and Richard Askam
BBC Sport WBA Middleweight title: Martin Murray v Felix Sturm


  • Venue: SAP-Arena, Mannheim, Germany
  • Date: Friday, 2 December
  • Start: From 2145 GMT
  • Coverage: Sky Sports 1


Murray (L) faces a tough task to beat WBA Champion Sturm (R) St Helens middleweight Martin Murray says he can upset Germany's Felix Sturm to pull off a "life-changing" world title victory.

Unbeaten British and Commonwealth champion Murray, 29, faces WBA champion Sturm - who has held the belt for five years - in Mannheim, Germany on Friday.

"We're hoping to shock a few people," Murray told BBC North West Tonight.

"I am the underdog but, even though people might be thinking it's a step up in class, I belong at that level."

Murray, who captured the British title by beating Nick Blackwell in June, is hoping to carry the WBA belt to his wedding ceremony just five days after the bout.

He is set to tie the knot with fiancee Gemma in the Caribbean on 7 December - a date that was arranged prior to promoter Ricky Hatton sealing Murray's title shot against Sturm, 32.

I know its going to be a hard 12-round fight, but I'm ready for it and I'm looking forward to it
Martin Murray
"My missus is flying out to the Caribbean on the day of the fight," father of two Murray explained. "I'm going to fly from Germany a couple of days after and catch them up.

"It's going to be a bit hectic but hopefully it will all be worthwhile. I've promised her that I am going to come over with the belt so I just hope what I said to her is true.

"It's the black eye on the wedding pictures she's more worried about. I know its going to be a hard 12-round fight, but I'm ready for it and I'm looking forward to it."

Murray, unbeaten in 23 professional fights, will have to produce the performance of his career to beat Sturm.

The Cologne fighter is in his second spell holding the WBA belt and has successfully defended his title on 10 occasions, most recently securing a split points victory against Birmingham-based Irishman Matthew Macklin.

"It's a massive chance for me fighting a great world champion in his own back yard," Murray said, who has prepared for the bout in a 16-week camp with trainer Oliver Harrison in Salford.

"It's a genuine world title so it's life-changing and good things can start happening for me.

TALE OF THE TAPE

Murray Sturm 29

Age

32

183cm (6ft)

Height

181cm (5ft 11˝ins)

23

Fights

39

23

Won

36

0

Lost

2

10

KOs

15


"I'm in the best condition I've ever been in, so we're really up for the fight and we really do believe we can go over there and beat him."

As well as having trainer Harrison in his corner, Murray has been able draw on the experience of former two-weight world champion Hatton in the build-up to the fight.

"It's great having someone like Ricky backing me," Murray said. "Since I turned professional with Ricky that's when things have really started happening for me."

"He's always there, phoning me up and asking me how things are going and, when I see him, he's always giving me good words of advice."

Murray will travel to south west Germany with a strong band of supporters and he will also be accompanied by drummers from the army's Duke of Lancaster Regiment as he makes his way to the ring.

Murray, who has close ties with the armed forces, visited Preston Barracks in the build-up to the fight and continues to raise funds and awareness for soldiers charity the Army Benevolent Fund.

"They're doing the real fighting," Murray added. "All those lads over there in Afghanistan - my fight ranks nowhere compared to what they do.

"They're going out and risking their life. I'm only going out risking a defeat, so they're in a completely different fight to me."



Source: BBC News

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