The countdown to Martin Murray’s world title bout with fearsome puncher Gennady Golovkin has well and truly begun.
The Pride of St Helens boxer, 32, is set to face the unbeaten middleweight king in Monte Carlo live on Channel Five in February.
Murray’s previous two world title shots resulted in a stunning draw against Felix Sturm in Germany and a controversial points defeat against Sergio Martinez in Argentina.
And he insisted that facing the Kazakh wrecking ball was not a mission impossible.
He said: “It’s a tough fight and there’s a lot of things working against me. I was hoping Golovkin’s previous opponents would show some type of chink in his armour, but none of them have done it yet.
“But I really think I can beat him. I know on my day I can beat anyone and with my trainer we’re working on tactics to nullify his main weapon, which is his power.
“Bigger upsets have happened and it won’t be an upset for me.”
The world champion, who has stopped his last 18 opponents inside the distance, said he was “really happy” to secure a fight with Murray.
Golovkin said: “I respect him, he’s a great fighter. Martin is very strong, I think he’s my best opponent.
“He’s the biggest challenger for me. He has style and more boxing class.”
Earlier this year Murray admitted 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 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. 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, also backed his charge to become world champion.
He said: “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.”