• Middleweight

Murray sets sights on US fight

June 11, 2013
Martin Murray dropped Sergio Martinez but lost a tight fight © AP

Middleweight contender Martin Murray made a name for himself on April 27 when he dropped champion Sergio Martinez but lost a tight decision on Martinez's turf before some 50,000 fans at a football stadium in Argentina.

It was certainly a good enough performance for Murray to be right back in the mix for a significant fight in the strong middleweight division, and he would like to make one in the United States.

He was supposed to challenge then-titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in El Paso, Texas in June 2012, but Murray, who holds an interim belt, was unable to obtain a visa in time because of his past criminal background. Chavez wound up facing Andy Lee instead.

But the 30-year-old Murray (25-1-1, 11 KOs) wants to try again - this time taking care of his paperwork well in advance - and hopes to fight in New York or Las Vegas before the end of the year. It could be difficult to line something up, but Murray - who has not ruled out stepping up in weight to face Carl Froch - is hopeful.

"I want to box in America, like every fighter does," said Murray, who is recovering from minor surgery on his elbow. "HBO were very impressed with how I performed against Martinez and have said they'd be happy to show me again. I need to get cracking on getting my visa sorted and then I can hopefully get some big fights sorted over there."

For the right opportunity, Murray said he would also consider moving up to super-middleweight, but he prefers to remain at middleweight. There had been a chance he would face Chavez in August or September, but Chavez is instead likely to face Brian Vera at several pounds above 160, where Murray is not too keen on moving yet.

"I'm open to all offers at middleweight, whether it be against Chavez Jr, the winner of [Gennady] Golovkin versus [Matthew] Macklin [on June 29], or whoever. I've got momentum from the Martinez fight and I need to make sure I don't go stale or get shut out of the picture, like I did after I fought Felix Sturm [to a draw in a 2011 world title bout in Germany].

"I've proven that I'm an elite fighter twice already, and I've been unlucky both times. I know I belong at the top level and I know I'm good enough to become a world champion. It's just a matter of time before I get my hands on one of those belts, and I don't care who I have to fight to do it."

This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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