MARTIN Murray – now one of British boxing’s biggest hopes for next year – has targeted arguably the best middleweight fighter on the planet after comprehensively seeing off fellow unbeaten ace Jorge Navarro on Saturday at a packed-out Manchester Arena.
In securing a crushing sixth-round win against Venezualan Navarro on the Ricky Hatton undercard at the weekend, former Wigan ABC star Murray won the WBA interim World title and stretched his professional record to 25 wins and one draw from 26 fights.
A second crack at the WBA’s full crown would normally beckon, but Murray has already signalled his intention to fly to South America in the new year to fight WBC king Sergio Martinez – the 37-year-old California-based Argentinian with a record of 50 wins and two draws from 54 pro fights.
Murray said: “My management team have said that a crack at Martinez is a possibility.
“Before the weekend I didn’t want to look past Navarro, it’s never good to say things like ‘I’ll fight him next or him’.
“But Martinez has been mentioned and I’d gladly go over to Argentina or America to try and beat him.
“We’re all confident that I would beat him, and if the chance came we’d take it.
“I’ll just keep concentrating on my training as I always do, but if anything does get sorted I would imagine we’ll hear something within the next couple of weeks.
“I know Martinez is, pound-for-pound, the best middleweight on the plant, but I’m world class now and I know I can beat him.”
So an exciting 2013 appears to beckon for Murray then, particularly after such a dominant victory at the weekend.
The outcome was never really in doubt, especially after a punishing straight right to Navarro’s chin towards the end of the first round saw the South American visitor sink to his knees for an eight-count from the referee.
Solid jabs and some crushing combinations helped Murray keep the pressure on his opponent through the next couple of rounds, before an overhand right to the head in round six saw Navarro sink to the canvas again.
He was up to his feet after another count, but a Murray flurry went on to finish the contest clinically after one minute and 40 seconds of the sixth.
It was another breath-taking performance from the local star, and one which drew praise from none other than Panamanian boxing legend Roberto Duran, who called into Murray’s dressing room after the victory to offer his congratulations.
Murray was stunned and delighted after posing for pictures with Duran.
He added: “That was a compliment and a half wasn’t it? I couldn’t believe it when he walked in then.
“It’s just inspiring for me to have people like that watching on. It makes me even more determined to work towards becoming a world champion now, because that’s where I belong.”