Martin Murray will face former world champion Hassan N’Dam as part of a massive night of boxing at the Manchester Arena on December 22, headlined by Josh Warrington defending his IBF world featherweight title against two-weight world champion Carl Frampton.
Murray, 37-4-1, is building towards another world title challenge, with his only career reverses having come in three previous bids – with one drawn – and against former WBA world champion George Groves.
The St Helens warrior put himself firmly in position for a tilt at the WBC title with the winning of the governing body’s Silver middleweight belt in June by defeating the champion Roberto Garcia via a unanimous decision over 12 rounds at the 02 Arena.
He is now up against a dangerous opponent in N’Dam, 36-3, who has operated at world level since winning the WBA Interim world title with a points victory over Avtandil Khurtsidze in 2010.
His winning streak continued with wins over Giovanni Lorenzo and Max Bursak – before he lost on points to Peter Quillin in 2012 with the WBO world middleweight title at stake.
The Frenchman rebuilt with four victories across 2013-14, with the fourth being a landslide points win over Curtis Stevens that qualified him for a shot at the IBF world title. A thrilling encounter with David Lemieux followed with the Canadian prevailing via the scorecards, with N’Dam showing huge bravery after being put to the canvas on four occasions by the heavy-hitting Lemieux.
A further four wins followed for the now 34-year-old before he headed to Japan in May 2017 to face London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Ryōta Murata for the vacant WBA regular world title, which he won via a controversial split decision.
The pair rematched five months later, again on Japanese soil, where N’Dam was forced into retirement in the seventh round.
“He is obviously a good opponent and I have known about him for a while,” reacted Murray to the news of a tough night’s work being booked for him at the Manchester Arena. “He is a former world champion and a good fighter.
“It’s a good fight for me, one where I need to be on top of my game because he can box, he can move and he can fight as well. I am happy with it.
“I don’t want to be fighting in six or eight rounders against opponents who I am going to get out in two or three rounds. I need proper live opponents and this guy is one – and he will be coming to win.
“It is just the sort of fight I need.
“I am creeping my way back up there. It has been a slow rebuilding process from the Groves loss for me, but I am keeping myself afloat now and a win against this guy will keep me in the mix.”
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.
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.