MARTIN Murray has lost his fifth attempt to win a world title after a commanding performance from WBO Super-Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.

The 31-year old from Hatfield bossed the ring for most of the rounds and and adjusted to every tactic Murray tried to deploy to knock him off course to win a unanimous decision 120-109, 120-109 and 118-110.

Afterwards it left the veteran Murray saying that he thinks "that's it" as he inevitably contemplates his future.

St Helens Star:

Martin Murray catches Billy Joe Saunders. Pic: Mark Robinson.

It was a cagey opening couple of rounds but then the champion began to prise a way through Murray's notoriously tight defence.

What was always going to be a tough fight began to go up a notch from round three with the slick southpaw beginning to penetrate from round three with some fine combinations.

Murray hit the deck in round four - not called a knock down - and he was caught a few times by Saunders' uppercut.

The St Helens fighter stuck in there, taking what was thrown at him and trying gamely to stop the champ from getting into his rhythm in another brave performance.

St Helens Star:

Saunders and Murray. Pic: Mark Robinson/Matchroom

But the writing was on the wall after round six.

Afterwards Murray said: "I am obviously gutted - I got beat by a better man.

"There was not much in a lot of the rounds but he was unpicking me. He was hard to pin down on the night.

"People have been trying to retire me for years - and nearly did two years ago. I knew there was a big fight left in me and another world title shot.

St Helens Star:

"I did it for the enjoyment. I was rebuilding - five times for a world title, but I am not going to get six. My body can't take it.

"I never say never, but I just want to spend time with my family now. 

"I think that is it...I tried.

"i am gutted, but I have always had that bit of hope and always believed I could beat him."

St Helens Star:

Murray on the attack. Pic: Mark Robinson/Matchroom

Speaking to Sky Sport Murray revealed that he had struggled with his back in the build up to the fight - and said it went again in round eight - but refused to use that as an excuse.

"I did get beat off a better man but what I am trying to say is that it is taking a lot of wear and tear out of my body.

"Never say never, but I am ready for a good rest now."

St Helens Star:

Two warriors at the end. Pic: Mark Robinson/Matchroom