MARTIN Murray has been forced to withdraw from his February 1 clash against Australian Jarrod Fletcher due to injury - but he and his team nevertheless remain upbeat about 2014.

Problems were discovered in both hands after Murray returned to the punch bag after a week’s recovery following his last fight against Sergey Khomitsky.

His team decided that the risk of sustaining further, possibly career ending injury, was too great a risk.

Murray explained: “We came out of my last fight in December and not only had a few of my old injuries cropped back up and we found a new fracture in my hand.

“We had started training straight after a week’s recovery but when we did a bit of punching neither of my hands were good.

“My right hand is still bad now, but we had already decided that it was not worth the risk and it was better to let it heal rather than dive straight in. I could do something bad to it and that would finish my career.”

The fight has been plagued from misfortune from the outset, having originally being billed as for the vacant WBA middleweight title.

However, the governing body’s refusal to elevate champion Gennady Golovkin to the super belt meant that there was no longer a vacancy – and that meant the bout against Fletcher was going to be a defence of Murray’s interim belt.

But Murray is not letting this latest setback derail his plans for a big year and hopefully another crack at one of the four world belts.

A rematch against Felix Sturm, who he drew against in Germany in 2012, is the one he would like to see most of all.

And the chances of that could increase following former IBF champion Darren Barker's decision to retire after dislocating hip sustained in that bout.

Murray has seen the speculation about the re-match, but does not know what discussions are taking place among the various camps.

He said: “I don’t know what talks are taking place but I would love the fight and the chance of a re-match.

“If it happens it would be a great fight for me because it is unfinished business and I would like to settle an old score.

“If it does happen it would be in Germany which I am not bothered about. I would take thousands over there this time. Ideally I would love to be Sturm’s first fight of this year – his first defence of the title.”

Although his injuries mean he starts the year with some caution, he will soon be whipping his body back into shape in preparation for hopefully third world title challenge.

The frustrations he has encountered since losing to Sergio Martinez last April have not diminished his thirst for success in the ring, rather they have intensified them.

“The more the little setbacks I get, the more hungry I get.

“Although the start of this year does not have the same direction as last year when I went straight into the Martinez fight I have got a better team around me; a new agent, a new strength and conditioning team and I am a lot more confident starting this year than I was last year.

“My support of family and friends is as strong as ever and I am looking forward to big things this year.

“My hand still needs a little bit more rest, but I am looking forward to getting back into the gym next week and just putting my body through it to get into the best condition of my life and challenging whatever is there,” he said.