TWO-time world title challenger Martin Murray has been away from his family for the last five weeks in the hope that such sacrifices will help land him the WBA Super world middleweight title on Saturday night (February 21) in Monte Carlo, LIVE on Channel 5.
The proud St. Helens warrior faces fearsome champion Gennady Golovkin in a matter of days and knows he’s left no stone unturned in training camp.
“Being away from my family has absolutely killed me,” said Murray, father to Archie, Amelia and Aisla. “I’ve been away from them now for over five weeks and it’s been really hard.
“I can look back now and think, well, at least it’s nearly done, but, at the time, it was hell. I was lonely, I was down. But it needed to be done. I’ve got no regrets whatsoever. If I had to go back and do it all again, I would. It’s been tough but worthwhile.
“I’m heavily involved in my kids’ lives and I know I’ve been missing a lot of things. I’m a very hands-on dad, so every day I spend away from them eats me up inside. But I can make up for it on Monday when I see them and bring home the world title.”
Though days from fight night, Murray, 29-1-1 (12 KOs), feels no ill will towards Golovkin. But that doesn’t meant he won’t be doing everything in his power to dethrone the champion on Saturday.
“When we have our press conference, I’ll be professional and courteous,” he said. “But, come fight night, that’s not going to stop me wanting to rip his head off. He’ll be the same way. We’ll shake hands and be perfectly nice to each other, but that goes out of the window on Saturday. He wants to take something from me and I want to hurt him.
“Some of Golovkin’s opponents might give him too much respect, and they might be all smiles and handshakes at the press conference, but that’s just stupid. They obviously didn’t grow up where I grew up. I respect his ability as a fighter, and I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but this is a fight and I can be just as nasty as anybody when I have to be.”
Murray has done the bulk of his training in South Africa, running at altitude and pushing his body to its limit, and the experience, he believes, has sufficiently prepared his mind for the sternest test of his seven-year professional career.
“I went over with a great bunch of lads and that made it easier for me,” he said. “I spent quite a lot of time in my room on my own, though. I wouldn’t say I was moody or horrible to be around, but I was focused and serious a lot of the time.
“Being away just made me focus that bit more and gave me more of a drive. I was away from home, away from my family and it was all for the right reasons.”
Such was the level of Murray’s focus, he even attached a picture of Golovkin, Saturday’s opponent, to a heavy bag in his gymnasium. It acted as a daily reminder.
“That picture was put on the heavy bag on day one and it was still there when I left on Friday,” said the 32-year-old. “It wasn’t done for publicity. It’s something we’ve always done. No matter who I’ve fought, there has always been a picture of them on a bag or on the wall. It’s just good to have their face in the gym. It makes you constantly aware of what is to come. To be honest, I’m sick of the sight of Golovkin now. I’ve seen him every single day.
“Saying that, though, it’s been extremely easy to switch off when I’ve needed to. In fact, I’ve never slept better during a training camp. I don’t know whether that’s because I’ve trained harder than ever or what, but sleep has been really easy this camp.
“I’ve thought about Golovkin, but only when I’ve needed to think about him. For example, I’d think about him on my way to training and while in the gym. Aside from that, though, I’ve put him to the back of my mind. I pick and choose when I need to focus on him.
“On Saturday night he’ll be the only thing on my mind.”