AT one stage Martin Murray feared the Covid-19 pandemic would finish his career, but as he approaches his fifth World title challenge he believes it may have just extended it.

That is one slither of a silver lining for Murray in what he accepts has been a dark, dismal cloud hanging over everyone this year.

Although going in as the massive underdog, the popular St Helens fighter takes on WBO Super-Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders on Friday at The SSE Arena, Wembley.

The 38-year-old believes getting this fight set up has stopped the year becoming a boxing write-off, after initially seeing the pandemic flatten all of his big plans.

Murray said: “At the start of the year, I was training flat out because there was talk of a fight in America and also for the European title, and then Covid happened.

"This has been a shocking year for everyone. But a couple of months ago, I was thinking Covid has ruined a lot of lives this year and it has probably also ruined my career.

St Helens Star:

Martin Murray. Picture: Mark Robinson/Matchroom

“I really thought I might end up calling it a day because I didn't know when boxing was going to start up again.

“I thought if it was 2021, then I would be a year or two older and just thought it was going to finish my career.

“But I have always believed in myself and that there is always hope. And instead of finishing my career it is going to end up making it.

“I truly believe that – and it would be nice to finish the year with a positive.”

There will be more big fight Billy Joe Saunders v Martin Murray build up this evening and tomorrow.