WORLD middleweight contender Martin Murray is stepping up his training in preparation for a tough bout against Max Bursak in the first of his trio of big dates in Monte Carlo.
Having been inactive for so long – his only bout since narrowly losing to Sergio Martinez in Buenos Aires 12 months ago being a virus affected win over Sergey Khomitsky – the St Helens fighter was pleased to be able to blast off some ring rust against Ghana’s Ishmael Tetteh.
But now attention switches to a more formidable opponent, with Ukraine’s number one Bursak throwing down the gauntlet in the first of his showpiece fights in Monaco on 21 June.
The 31-year-old Fingerpost fighter said: “I went to South Africa and got the job done – and it was perfect for what I needed because I had been so inactive and that showed in the fight.
“It took me a while to find my range and shake off the cobwebs and then I stepped it up in the fifth and sixth and he threw the towel.
“I needed the rounds and got the feel of being in the ring again – and in the process it helped me sharpen my tools for June.
“I am enjoying boxing again but I have a much harder fight coming up now. I know I am going to have to be on my game against Max Bursak because he is a tough fighter and ranked eighth in the world by the WBA.
“Bursak is a tough lad, a big lump, who just comes forward. He is going to bring it and step up his game.
“It is a hard fight, but I am proper up for it.”
Murray, now with Golden Gloves, has signed up for three big fights in Monte Carlo with June’s encounter followed by ones in November and February.
He has high hopes that a good performance against the 29-year-old Bursak will put him in the frame to secure a world title shot for one of those other dates.
And to that end he is preparing diligently, not simply to win the fight, but to also impress the wider world.
“I have had a week off since South Africa, but now I am looking forward to smashing the gym.
“I will go in there in the best condition I can be in, listen to Oliver Harrison my trainer and be up for the fight.
“The most important thing is winning but it is start of my first of three fights in Monte Carlo – a prestigious venue – so I want to make a good impression,” he said.