Martin Murray reckons he could be just one fight away from a third world title shot.
The pride of St Helens middleweight, 32, faces Domenico Spada in Monte Carlo live on Channel Five on Saturday, October 25, and is ranked the number one challenger by the WBC.
Murray hopes a convincing victory over the “rugged and awkward” Italian will help him to secure a fight with hard-hitting WBC king Gennady Golovkin early next year.
He previously drew with Felix Sturm in a world title bout in Germany and suffered a points loss against Sergio Martinez in Argentina - despite knocking his opponent down twice.
Murray said: “Training’s gone really well and I’m feeling focused and ready. I’ve been over to Dublin for a bit of sparring and my preparations have gone perfectly.
“Being away from my family for a couple of weeks has been hard but it’s helped me get into fight mode. It’s worked well for my wife too. I’m not the easiest person to be around when I’m dieting!
“It’s given me time to focus properly on this fight, though, because I know I’ve just got to keep winning and my chance for another world title shot will come.
“I’ve got my eye on Golovkin because he’s the main man at middleweight at the moment. My business advisor is working on a world title fight for the beginning of next year, hopefully.
“This is boxing, though, so anything could happen.”
Murray admits that periods of inactivity following both the Sturm and Martinez bouts caused his career to lose crucial momentum and left him with a “rebuilding process”.
But he feels he’s back on the right track now - particularly as this latest bout is set to be screened on terrestrial TV in front of more than a million viewers.
He still hopes to win a world title and then defend his title at Langtree Park - which is just half a mile from where he grew up.
Murray added: “Hopefully it will be third time lucky when my world title chance comes around.
“I boxed so well against Sturm and Martinez that it has made me a dangerous opponent for a title holder. But the fact that I could quite easily have been a world champion by now shows that I’m not far away.”
Murray’s coach, Oliver Harrison, has backed his charge to become world champion.
He said: “The fight with Spada is just a warm up for Golovkin. Everybody seems to think Martin’s going to lose to Golovkin - he won’t lose.
“Golovkin may have the power but Martin’s got the skills to beat him.”