Stablemates Billy Joe Saunders and Martin Murray have insisted they will put mutual respect to one side when the opening bell rings for their all-MTK Global world middleweight title fight on Saturday, April 14.
Promoter Frank Warren today (Friday) confirmed that Saunders (26-0, 12KOs) will defend his WBO world title against Murray (36-4-1, 17KOs), live on BT Sport and BoxNation in Britain and Ireland, with a UK venue and further details to be revealed at a press conference next week.
Saunders is coming off the back of a dominant points victory over David Lemieux and the Hatfield native considers his next bout to be a final warm-up fight for a showdown against the winner of an anticipated rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
While Saunders and Murray are both managed by MTK, the 28-year-old champion insists that sentiment will not distract him from his ongoing mission to unify all four world belts at 160lbs.
“Martin Murray is a good fighter and I have got the greatest of respect for him,” said Saunders. “But he’s in the way of what I’m aiming for this year and that is to become undisputed middleweight world champion.
“He’s coming to try and win my world title and I’m sure it’s going to be a good fight,” added the title holder, whose determination to win is matched by his challenger.
Having fallen short in his efforts to win a world title at super-middleweight, losing a split decision to Arthur Abraham in 2015, Murray will return to middleweight for what will be his fourth effort to claim world honours at 160lbs.
“I rate Billy Joe as a fighter, he’s one of slickest out there and he is coming off of a great win and he will be very confident,” said Murray. “But I’m very confident too. This is my time to become world champion as it’s the only thing I have left to do.”
The 35-year-old St Helen’s man has suffered plenty of world-title heartache as he previously drew with Felix Sturm before coming out the wrong side of a tight points loss to Sergio Martinez – both contentious results – while he also lost out to Golovkin despite a brave effort.
“I’ve fought everyone and in my opinion at middleweight I have only one genuine loss, which is against Gennady Golovkin who is the best out there,” insisted Murray.
“I don’t count Martinez or Sturm as genuine losses because of the scorecards. But this time around, in my first world-title fight at home, as we are both British fighters fighting on home soil, I know the best man on the night will get the win and leave the arena as world champion,” added the challenger.
Details of a press conference to be hosted by promoter Frank Warren, along with ticket prices and further fight details, are expected to be announced next week.