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Murray moving to 168 in new deal with Matchroom

Former title challenger Martin Murray will make his debut at 168 pounds on June 26 in Liverpool, England. Paula Ribas/LatinContent/Getty Images

England's Martin Murray, a longtime middleweight contender coming off an 11th-round knockout loss challenging titleholder Gennady Golovkin on Feb. 21, is returning to the ring in a new weight class and with a new promoter.

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced Friday he has signed Murray, 32, to a promotional agreement and that he will box as a super middleweight on his June 26 card at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.

Murray will appear at a news conference in London on Wednesday to discuss his return and new promotional deal, which comes after parting ways with South African promoter Rodney Berman.

Murray was dominated by Golovkin in their fight in Monte Carlo, but he was the first opponent able to extend him into the 11th round. Murray also came up short in two other world title fights -- a close decision loss challenging then-champion Sergio Martinez in Martinez's homecoming fight in Argentina in 2011 and drawing with then-titleholder Felix Sturm in 2011 in Sturm's native Germany.

"I'm delighted to sign for Matchroom and am so excited about the future with them and [British broadcaster] Sky Sports," Murray said. "I've been in major fights all over the world against Felix Sturm in Germany, Sergio Martinez in Argentina and Golovkin in [Monaco] but now I feel it's time that I had those major fights in the U.K.

"I've fought the very best at middleweight and now I'm ready to do the same at 168 pounds. It's a hot division and domestically can throw up some absolute wars. James DeGale did great to capture the world title and I'd love that fight later this year. George Groves is also challenging for a title and again it's a fight I'd relish.

"I'm excited to return at the Echo Arena on June 26. I've never boxed there and it's not far from my hometown. It's the beginning of a new journey for me. I've always felt I could become a world champion and now under Eddie, Matchroom and Sky Sports I know I will make that dream become reality."

Said Hearn: "I'm delighted to welcome Martin to our team of elite fighters. Martin has proved time and again that he is one of the best middleweights in the world and now I am looking forward to building him further in the U.K. and being involved in some huge domestic and international fights.

"It all starts on June 26 at the Echo Arena. These are great times for British boxing and I'm so pleased I get the chance to deliver for Martin Murray."

The June 26 card took a big hit Friday when heavyweight David Price, 31, of Liverpool, withdrew from his main event -- against an opponent to be determined -- because of a neck injury.

The injury will keep Price (19-2, 16 KOs) out of the gym for two weeks, promoter Sauerland Event announced.

"Of course I'm disappointed," said Price, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and the 2012 ESPN.com prospect of the year. "I had been looking forward to returning home at the very top of my game and fighting in front of my home fans once again, but unfortunately that will have to wait. My neck muscle needs resting and that has disrupted my preparations and made it impossible for me to be at full fitness for June 26."

The card also includes cruiserweight Tony Bellew and super middleweights Callum Smith and Rocky Fielding in separate bouts.