Saunders vs Murray: Martin Murray says Gennadiy Golovkin was fearsome but Billy Joe Saunders has earned his respect

Martin Murray on Gennadiy Golovkin: "I’ve been in with more fearsome punchers, but Billy Joe can obviously punch"; The British rivals battle for the WBO super-middleweight title on Friday, live on Sky Sports

Gennadiy Golovkin
Image: Martin Murray has first-hand experience of Gennadiy Golovkin's power

Martin Murray says Gennadiy Golovkin is a "fearsome puncher" but admits Billy Joe Saunders has enough power to earn his respect in their world title fight.

The St Helens man challenges Saunders for the WBO super-middleweight belt on Friday, live on Sky Sports, in his fifth attempt to win a world title fight after sharing the ring with Felix Sturm, Sergio Martinez, Golovkin and Arthur Abraham.

Murray had a brutal battle with Golovkin in 2015, eventually suffering an 11th-round stoppage loss, but insists Saunders will also pose a threat with the speed and precision of his punches.

Billy Joe Saunders
Image: Billy Joe Saunders stopped Marcelo Esteban Coceres in his last fight

"If you get punched in the face it hurts. I don't care who you are," Murray told Sky Sports, when asked how Saunders compares to Golovkin's knockout power.

"I've been in with more fearsome punchers, but Billy Joe can obviously punch. It's the shots you don't see that really hurt you.

"Billy Joe is that fast and that slick that there could be a few of them. I'm not going into the fight thinking I'm invincible or will be able to walk through his power.

Saunders vs Murray is live on Sky Sports
Image: Saunders vs Murray is live on Sky Sports on Friday night

"I know he hits hard. I know he's got respect in his punches. I've not gone into it thinking I've been in with stronger punchers, but I know I'm going to have to take risks."

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Murray has acknowledged Golovkin as his No 1 opponent so far, but pointed out his creditable points loss to Martinez as proof that he can handle a southpaw like Saunders.

"It's hard to put a number on them and rank them," said Murray, who floored Martinez in a disputed decision defeat.

"Golovkin was the best, been my toughest fight to date that. Fought him in his pomp as well. That was a really, really hard fight.

"But they've all offered something different, in terms of how hard the fight is going to be.

"With Billy Joe, he's offering something different again.

"I've only fought two southpaws as a pro. Martinez was the slipperiest one out of them, but I've never really struggled with southpaws."

Watch Billy Joe Saunders vs Martin Murray on Friday, from 7pm on Sky Sports.

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