Martin Murray – Hassan N`Dam on Saturday

Martin Murray has hailed the calming influence of trainer Jamie Moore as he prepares to clash with former middleweight world champion Hassan N’Dam on Saturday.

St Helens’ Murray (37-4-1-KO17) faces N’Dam (36-3-KO21) on the Josh Warrington vs. Carl Frampton card – live on BT Sport – having overcome the controversial tactics of Robert Garcia last time out to earn the WBC Silver title.

Murray said: “From my point of view, despite his dirty tactics, it was a comfortable win. It was easy because I stuck to the tactics. I was a couple of spars short in that camp.

“We went from preparing for an awkward southpaw runner in Saunders to preparing for an orthodox fighter who is in your face. We had to change everything last minute. That’s just me being honest.

“First of all, what’s said to you in the corner. Jamie Moore is very good at defusing a situation and keeping you calm. You’ve seen with Garcia against me and then Steven Ward against Rolando Paredes, who got disqualified.

“We’re all in the gym and we’re all happy. We’re under great coaches in Jamie and Nigel. Speaking personally, if you’re het up and angry, it only takes a little something to make your head go and you lose your game plan.

“The gym is flying. We’re all happy and we’re all fighting. We’re with the Trainer of the Year. It’s a team effort and we’re all doing really well.

“I had a few disappointments with what happened with Billy Joe Saunders. I thought I was going to get out and then Garcia called me out and brought his WBC title over. The win got me back up the rankings and I’m No. 2 in the WBC rankings.”

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MARTIN MURRAY RELUCTANTLY concedes that it is a case of win or bust for him when he defends his WBC Silver middleweight title against the dangerous Hassan N’Dam on Saturday.

In what should be a compelling contest at the Manchester Arena, the 36-year-old four-time world title challenger bids to extend his winning run to five against former WBA Regular champion N’Dam and place himself in pole position for a fifth strike at world honours.

Should it not go his way against the 36-3 Frenchman, the final bell will likely call time on the career of the 37-4-1 stalwart from St Helens, who doesn’t see himself embarking on another lengthy rebuild when he has a young family to consider.

“It is the rebuild, working your way all the way back up again,” reasoned the 6ft middleweight. “I’ve got too much going on for that and my family is my main priority.

“I don’t hold it against boxing because the life we have got is because of boxing – my whole family know it. It does at some stage affect my family life and I won’t let it go on forever.

“So that is why I won’t rebuild again,” he confirmed, before relaying a tale of how a Christmas voyage on the high seas hit some turbulence due to fight scheduling.

“We booked a holiday 18 months ago – a cruise around Asia – and we go on December 20. I am now fighting on the 22nd, so now my wife, my kids, my mum fly over on the 20th, then I’ll fight and fly on the 23rd with my dad. We get to Vietnam on the 24th, but they will be at sea and don’t dock until the 25th so I am not going to see my kids until Christmas Day.

“They are the sacrifices I am making and, what I am saying is, with a loss for me I would not rebuild and do it all again.

“Some people are lucky to get one shot and I’ve had four. I believe that if I fight for another world title, no other British fighter will have done it. Frank Bruno and George Groves won it at four and nobody else has won it after five times.

“I know there will definitely not be a sixth and all I want to do is become world champion. I do really feel it is my destiny.”

Knowing that the book will be closed on his career should his arm not be raised aloft after his fight on BT Sport Box Office on Saturday night, Murray confesses is something that drives him harder in training to delay the reading of the final chapter.

“Of course it does, it helps with momentum and keeping young. I love going to the gym and the crack we have there. I love it when I feel fit and when I’ve got a big fight announced. I love everything about it – apart from the last two weeks when the dieting gets hard.

“I don’t want this to end, so it is keeping me focussed, although it (retirement) is there and I know it is going to happen. I don’t want it to end so I am training as hard as I can and as smart as I can as well.”

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THE WELL USED label of ‘crossroads fight’ is one that is familiar to Martin Murray, more than most.

The particular piece of boxing terminology was again being bandied about in his direction when his potential barnstormer against Hassan N’Dam was announced for the Manchester Arena on December 22 in support of his stablemate, Carl Frampton, challenging for the IBF world featherweight title held by Josh Warrington.

Middleweight Murray now uses the mere mention of retirement as motivation to keep on winning. He is not having one last one for the road because the 36-year-old still firmly believes he has got a world title win in him.

However, if he were to lose another fight, he will call it quits and that has been the case since he suffered a points reverse to George Groves in June 2016.

“I know how important it is to win anyway, but I think people want to see me retire!” quipped the four-time world title challenger.

“The stakes are high and I think people do want to see me retire more than I do because it gets thrown in my face all the time.

“I’m a survivor. I’ve just been surviving and surviving and it always seems to be one loss and I will be retired. I’ve had that, well, since the Groves fight and I’ve not lost since.”

Despite being one loss away from collecting his punching pension, the force of Murray is showing no signs of diminishing and he demonstrated that he remains in the belt collecting business with the hard-fought victory over Roberto Garcia for the WBC Silver title last time out in June.

“I’m feeling great, you know, really good. I am one loss away from retirement, although I don’t want to retire, I know it is one loss away. So I am focusing, training hard and really enjoying the work at the minute.

“I keep getting the crossroads fight thing thrown at me by people. A really good mate of mine, a couple of months ago, said to me that after the Groves loss he never thought I would still be here.
“Everybody wrote me off after Groves, but I have just survived, scrapped and scraped – and I am still here.

“I am in a tough fight now, a meaningful fight and I am just focused on getting a win against a good live opponent.”

IBF world featherweight champion Josh Warrington takes on former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton at the Manchester Arena on December 22nd live on BT Sport Box Office. Mark Heffron and Liam Williams contest the vacant British middleweight title and Belfast’s blue chip featherweight prospect Michael Conlan (9-0) takes on former commonwealth champion Jason Cunningham (24-5). In a step up, Nathan Gorman puts his undefeated record and WBC International Silver Heavyweight Title on the line against former World Title challenger Alex Leapai. Tyson Fury’s younger brother Tommy Fury also makes his professional debut.

Elsewhere on the bill. World flyweight title challenger Paddy Barnes (5-1) and unbeaten Light Heavyweight contender Steven Ward (9-0) return to action. Manchester’s 12-0 Light Heavyweight Lyndon Arthur and 7-0 Darlington middleweight Troy Williamson also return.

Tickets are priced at £50 Upper Tier, £80 Tier, £100 Tier, £150 Tier, £200 Floor/Tier, £300 Floor, £400 Floor, £600 Inner Ring VIP Hospitality and are available.

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