TOP boxer Martin Murray has vowed to win his once-in-a-lifetime world title shot “for St Helens”.
And it seems the whole of his hometown is right behind him too.
On Friday night (December 2) the St Helens fighter will enter the lion’s den to go toe-to-toe with battle-hardened champion Felix Sturm in the German’s backyard, Mannheim.
Against all odds, challenger Murray, the current British and Commonwealth champion, is bidding to bring the coveted WBA world middleweight title belt back to St Helens – despite bookies rating him a 3/1 outsider.
Among the messages of support which flooded in for the unbeaten 29-year-old this week was one from Dominic Hodnett, who runs the Wildcard Amateur Boxing Club in Derbyshire Hill.
Dominic, who hopes to get permission to extend his club’s opening hours so all his boxers can watch the fight together, said: “Martin is such an inspirational guy and has had a massive impact on our youngsters. The day he came down to our gym to open it we were flooded with starstruck kids. He’s a true superstar in every way and all our youngsters want to emulate him. He has put St Helens boxing back on the world map.
“Martin is in his prime now too. I remember speaking to him a couple of years ago and he just told me how he was planning on getting to the top of the domestic scene – but I could see in his eyes even then that he wanted more.
“Winning over in Germany will be a tough task.
“Martin will know that he will have to work his socks off – he won’t be able to steal a result over there, every round will have to be convincing.
“But I firmly believe that Martin will be the new world champion come Saturday morning.”
Meanwhile, Saints winger Ade Gardner said the entire squad were wishing Murray, who has a tattoo of the Saints logo on his lower leg, the best for fight night.
“We’ve all been following Martin’s progress closely,” said Gardner.
“He’s brought his belts down to one of our games so we all know he’s a mad keen Saints fans and all the lads will be cheering him on come Friday night.
“I’ll definitely be watching the fight. It will be massive for St Helens if he can do the business.”
And Councillor Barrie Grunewald, the deputy leader of St Helens Council, said: “I am sure I echo the town’s sentiments when we wish Martin good luck in his title fight and look forward to the prospect of St Helens’ first ever world champion.
“He is a true ambassador for our town.”
l Send your messages of good luck to Martin online at www.sthelensreporter.co.uk