Martin Murray has been forced to withdraw from his WBC middleweight title challenge against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr because he cannot obtain a visa in time that would allow him to enter the United States.
The British, Commonwealth and WBA inter-continental champion was lined up to challenge the Mexican in El Paso, Texas on Saturday 16th June.
Murray spent time in prison when he was younger and has turned his life around in recent years. However, his past has meant a delay in getting the necessary visa.
Despite being a model citizen these days he cannot get the paperwork rubber stamped in time for a US and Mexican press tour later this month and the fight is now off.
Family man Murray, 29, said: “I’d signed the contract and everything was agreed so to be told I cannot box Chavez Jr because of my past is gut-wrenching.
“As a human being, I couldn’t have done any more to turn my life around over the last seven years.
“I have a fantastic wife, Gemma. We have two wonderful children Archie and Amelia. They are my life and everything I do is for them.”
Devastated Martin hopes his ill-fortune will be a lesson to youngsters who could be falling on the wrong side of the law.
He added: “I am a qualified youth worker and spend a lot of time working with kids making an effort to help keep them out of trouble.
“I am pleading with the youth of today not to make the same mistakes I did when I was young.
“Even if you change your life around it can still come back to bite you.”
Murray, his manager Neil Marsh and Hatton Promotions will still try and get the popular boxer a visa to enter the United States in the future.
Until then he will concentrate on defending his titles and hopes to add another Lonsdale belt notch this summer.
Murray’s only blemish in 24 fights is a draw against WBA super champion Felix Sturm in December where he proved himself as a world class fighter.
He said: “I would like to thank my team, Hatton Promotions for all their efforts and I have every faith in them.
“I would also like to thank Bob Arum and everybody at Top Rank for trying to put the Chavez Jr fight together and hope it can still happen at a later date.”
Promoter Ricky Hatton said: “This is a sledgehammer blow for Martin and his team, but everyone at Hatton Promotions will work to get him another world title fight.”
March 19, 2012