British middleweight Martin Murray looks set for a 2015 showdown with WBA champion Gennady Golovkin after a technical decision victory over Domenico Spada in the principality.
The St Helens fighter (right) who has twice come up short in world title fights, was well ahead on the cards when the fight was stopped midway through the seventh round, with the referee ruling Spada could not continue because of a headbutt sustained earlier in the bout.
Despite Spada leading with his head for large sections of the fight, it was the Italian who was cut above his eye in the third round, which surprisingly led to Murray being deducted a point.
Yet that failed to disrupt Murray, who won by scores of 67-66, 68-63 and 69-67.
The 32-year-old (29-1-1, 12KOs), who drew with Felix Sturm for the WBA title in 2011 and lost a tight decision to Sergio Martinez for the WBC strap in Argentina last year, will be hoping to make it third time lucky against the unbeaten Golovkin with the two combatants expected to face each other in Monte Carlo in February.
Meanwhile, Chris Eubank Jr warmed up for next month’s domestic showdown with Billy Joe Saunders by claiming a quickfire victory over unheralded German Omar Siala at Liverpool’s Echo Arena.
Despite the biggest test of his fledgling professional career just five weeks away, the unbeaten Eubank Jr opted to take a tune-up and it paid dividends as he claimed his 18th straight victory in the paid ranks.
The 25-year-old needed less than two rounds to see off Siala, the referee ending the fight just over a minute into the second round after Eubank Jr had landed yet another crunching uppercut on his opponent.
It was a clinical display but Eubank Jr is likely to face a much sterner test on November 29, on the undercard of Dereck Chisora’s heavyweight re-match with Tyson Fury, when he challenges rival Saunders (20-0, 11KOs) for the European middleweight title in London.
Eubank said: “The main fight is on the 29th against average Joe. The best is yet to come. This guy didn’t deserve to fight me.
“I took this fight because I’m a fighter.
“I took this fight because I’m a fighter. Even if I did get injured I still would have fought Saunders - and beat him. You saw the power my punches were causing to the other guy.”