MARTIN Murray can’t wait to get back among the World elite after gut-wrenchingly missing out on a chance to fight WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Texas.
Visa issues meant ex-Wigan ABC star Murray couldn’t gain entry into the US to promote the June-scheduled fight, so it had to be cancelled.
It was a sickening blow, but Murray has now refocused on a place on the ‘Road to Glory’ show at the Manchester Velodrome on June 16 where a British title defence is likely, while a second shot at a World title remains the ultimate dream.
Murray dramatically drew when he challenged WBA Super champion Felix Sturm in December in Germany, so he’s desperate to get back to that level.
He told the Observer: “We’ve had that taste of a World title fight now and it was just brilliant.
“They really looked after us in Germany with top hotels and being ferried round in limo’s everywhere, it was just so professionally done.
“Being the main event at a big venue like that was awesome too, so we have had a taste and we want to get back there. That’s where I feel I belong.
“Felix Sturm is a world class fighter and I feel I deserve to be in the same ring as people like that with the team I’ve got behind me.
“It won’t be long before I’m up there again.”
It’s back to more domestic issues for now though, with Murray featuring highly on a cracking bill that includes Scott Quigg against Rendall Munroe for the vacant WBA interim super-bantamweight title and Ryan Rhodes in action in his bid for a European crown.
Murray added: “I’ve fought at the Velodrome before and it is a great venue.
“It’s shaping up to be a cracking bill too – certainly the best show of the season so far in the UK.
“I’m just looking forward to it big time now.
“I was itching to get out after Christmas.
“I trained up until March thinking I was going to be out on April 21, then the call came about the Chavez fight.
“Signing the contracts and everything else took about two weeks, and then because that fight was due to be later in the year [trainer] Oliver Harrison told me to chill out for a bit so I decided to go away with my wife Gemma and the kids.
“We were set to resume the training at the time as I have now because the Chavez fight was to take place on the same day, but the call came to say the Chavez fight was cancelled and I was gutted.
“It was very frustrating at the time. I wasn’t devastated, but I was gutted.
“It was disheartening because for a short spell I just didn’t know what I was doing.
“I knew it might be a bit of a struggle to get the US visa in time, but that’s all it is thankfully – time.
“I will be able to fight in the US in future, but I’ll just need more time to sort things out because of what’s happened in the past.
“Chavez’s promoter wanted us in America three weeks ago to do some press conferences and whatever, but we couldn’t get the visa in time.
“It has been too long since I was in the ring. At the end of the day I’m a fighter and all I want to do is fight.
“It does your head in when something like this happens, but I’m at the stage in my career now where there’s some possible huge fights coming up.
“It’s been difficult, but Ricky Hatton’s matchmaker Richard Poxon told me to lie low for a bit, keep my position in the rankings and bide my time.
“We’ve got this June date now, and although we don’t know who I’ll be fighting yet, it’s something to work towards and focus on.”
‘Rwwoad to Glory’ tickets are now on sale priced £125 (VIP inner ringside and exclusive cash bar), £100 (ringside), £55, £35 and £30.
You can purchase tickets by calling the Hatton Promotions hotline on 01925 755 222 or by logging on to: www.ticketmaster.co.uk.