“I WILL BECOME A TWO-WEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION!” SAYS SAUNDERS | FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES AHEAD OF SATURDAY NIGHT’S SAUNDERS V ISUFI + JOYCE V USTINOV SHOW

Boxing – Billy Joe Saunders & Shefat Isufi Press Conference – Knebworth House, Knebworth, Britain – May 16, 2019 Billy Joe Saunders and Shefat Isufi pose after the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
PROMOTER Frank Warren today held the final press conference ahead of Saturday’s vacant WBO world super-middleweight title clash between Billy Joe Saunders and Shefat Isufi at The Lamex Stadium, home of Stevenage FC.

Saunders, who comes from nearby Hatfield will be bidding to become a two-weight world champion having previously held the WBO middleweight crown.

Also on the bill is fast emerging London heavyweight star and Olympic silver medalist Joe Joyce who faces giant Russian former world title challenger Alexander Ustinov.

In a double title fight Lichfield’s British super-bantamweight champion Brad Foster meets Bristol’s Commonwealth belt holder Ashley Lane.Here are a selection of quotes from the presser.

FRANK WARREN
Bill should be in a position to have big fights and he will get them. It is a shame that fighters avoid him. We twice signed to fight Golovkin and I know Canelo’s connections don’t want to know. I had a chat with Joe Gallagher a couple weeks ago about Callum Smith and he said ‘in a couple of fights time’, but Callum will be light-heavyweight by then. Chris Eubank Jr has shown no interest in avenging his loss to Bill.Ustinov is a big, big man and I know him very well. This is a tough fight for Joe and a step up for him. Joe doesn’t want marking time fights and this is no gimme. Joe is out to make a statement and cannot afford to slip up. 

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS
This has been a long time coming. I had a terrible 2018 and feel my title was robbed from me. I jumped at this fight when it was offered and I will become a two-weight world champion.

I’m not looking past Isufi, but I am looking for the big names. I am 29, I know I have got it inside me and nobody has seen my best.

With the backing of BT Sport we can make the big fights. It is all fine saying I look good hitting the pads, but I have to be on my A game and send a message to the other super-middleweights.

If I do bring it, I should box his head off. Whatever he brings I will fetch ten-fold more.

I have been training with Ben and it has been good, enjoyable and great bouncing around with Tyson Fury. Everything has gone well and I’m enjoying boxing again. 

SHEFAT ISUFI

I am doing this for me, but to become Albania’s first world boxing champion is big for them and also Germany as I box under their flag.

Billy Joe will be trying everything to win and so will I.

If Billy Joe did win I will congratulate him, but it will be the other way around.

Billy Joe is quick, fast and a hard puncher. I can also punch and one punch could make the difference.

My father died when I was young and he is always in my mind. When I win I will go to his grave and thank him. 

JOE JOYCE

I am fighting fit and good to go. Training has gone well with Adam Booth. I am looking for nine wins, nine knockouts.

Ustinov is very experienced, big, strong, tough and this is a step up. I have to beat him to get to the next level. I know what he has in his arsenal and what I have to do to beat him. He can punch, but I take a shot and give one back. 

ALEXANDER USTINOV

This is a very hard fight and I am prepared to win. Joe is a very good boxer and I know him well. We will see who is the strongest boxer this weekend. Joe wants to knock me out, but everyone thinks they win by knockout. 
BRAD FOSTER

I have been learning on the job and picked up the British title in my last fight against Josh Wale when I was the away fighter so I am not doing too badly. Ash has got a lot more experience and this is no walkover. It is a tough fight. I am a happy Brad and when I’m happy I perform better. 

ASHLEY LANE 

I watched him against Josh and it was a good performance. In my last seven fights I have turned my career around after up and downs. My experience and what I have learned from the last two years will give me the strength to win. I spar with Lee Haskins, Lee Selby and Andrew Selby. That is a high level of sparring. 

Tickets for saturday night’s show can be purchased via borotickets.co.uk and are priced as below:

£250 – Hospitality
£150 – Pitch
£100 – Pitch
£75 – Pitch
£50 – Stand
£40 – Stand are now completely sold out

More information on saturday night’s show can be found in this helpful guide.
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SAUNDERS PRIMED TO BECOME A TWO WEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS has revealed that becoming a two-weight world champion was his childhood dream.He can achieve that lifelong ambition at The Lamex Stadium, Stevenage FC this Saturday night when he challenges Shefat Isufi (27-3-2) for the vacant WBO super-middleweight crown, live on BT Sport.

Their big showdown was initially for the interim title, but Gilberto Ramirez has relinquished and moved up to light-heavyweight meaning the full championship is now on the line.

Former WBO middleweight champion Saunders, 29,  said:  “I was always assured by Frank Warren and MTK that the fight would be for the full version of the world title.

“They told me not to get impatient when it was just the interim title. That is what I’ve done and it has happened to work out for the best.

“Being called a two-weight world champion sounds nice and it is good for the history books.

“Boxing is a business, but to be a two-weight world champion is something you dream of growing up and here is my chance to achieve it.

“It is the icing on the cake and I have got to deliver. It’s no good fighting for it. I’ve got to win it.”

Saunders (27-0)  has spent nine weeks in Manchester training for the big fight which takes place just 12 miles from his Hatfield home.

He added: “A lot of people are expecting me to win so there is a bit of pressure on, but it is pressure I can deal with.

“I will sit down with my team, have a discussion with my management and assess my options when I’ve got the win against Isufi.

“The main thing is getting that win because the whole conversation is different if I don’t win.”

The vacant WBO super-middleweight title clash between Billy Joe Saunders and Shefat Isufi headlines the bill at Stevenage football ground with unbeaten heavyweight Joe Joyce facing former world title challenger Alexander Ustinov in the chief supporting contest.

British super-bantamweight champion Brad Foster faces Commonwealth title holder, Ashley Lane with both belts on the line

Chingford prospect Boy Jones Jr fights for the vacant WBO Youth titleTickets can be purchased via borotickets.co.uk and are priced as below: 

£250 – Hospitality
£150 – Pitch
£100 – Pitch
£75 – Pitch
£50 – Stand
£40 – Stand

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HOME SWEET HOME FOR BILLY JOE

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS will bid to win the hearts of the Hertfordshire public when he fights for the first time in the county as a professional, seeking to become a two-weight world champion by claiming the vacant WBO world super middleweight title against the Albanian Shefat Isufi.

What Saunders hopes will be his crowning glory will take place in the middle of the pitch at the Lamex Stadium, home of Stevenage FC, and performing on home soil carries considerable appeal for the unbeaten – 27-0 – former WBO world middleweight champion.

“Most definitely and I think it has been a long time coming,” said the 29-year-old. “You see I have mostly boxed in London and been at home, but I’ve never boxed here and it is interesting because I believe I am going to get a very big following.

“I am very excited to be honest with you, excited and nervous, because it is no good fighting at a venue like this and performing like a pillock! I’ve got to put on a good performance, so I am looking to repeat the David Lemieux performance and get the win to make myself the No.1.”

To do that, the southpaw stylist will have to overcome the 27-3-2 Isufi, who is unbeaten at super middleweight after previously campaigning at cruiser and light heavy. Saunders insists he is not a threat to be taken lightly.

“Listen, a lot of people are looking at him and underestimating him a little bit. I am looking at him and I can, from studying him, see that what he does he does really well. He is not appealing on the eye, but he is better than he actually looks.

“He is obviously No.1 in the world for something and he has got to be taken care of professionally. I have been working hard and I am going to get the job done.

“He is unbeaten at the weight and he has cemented his No.1 spot for a reason. I’ve got to take him seriously but, at the same time, it is hard not to look past him because I lost my world title without getting beat and I want to be world champion as quickly as I can.”

Saunders, indeed, could have opted to remain at middleweight and was nominated as mandatory challenger for his old title after Demetrius Andrade assumed his former status following their aborted collision last year.

The Hatfield resident declined the mandatory invitation in order to challenge for two-weight honours and believes the champions and contenders at super middle are far more willing to engage than at 160lbs.

“For one the financial gain was silly, silly change. Then there was nothing going my way and I would have been going to his back yard again, where I didn’t get fairly treated the first time. I know that and I know deep down what went on, but for good fighters it is not about sitting around watching it is about how you come back.

“I have to come back stronger.

“It is open with some good names and some good fights to be made. People might say I am not a big super middleweight, but they will find I will be big enough for it. My style has never been big and bullying, that is not me, my style is being clever and smart.

“I have got unfinished business at middleweight, but I am putting myself in a position at super middle to give myself different options.

“The thing is with the super middleweights is that everyone is willing to fight everyone. There is nobody sitting back hanging out for the last pound and that is what I like about it. I’ve been at the top of the middleweights and the stars at the top want all of the pie and everything their own way.

“It is all on their terms, but I am just in it to win it and prove I am the best. I will put myself in a position at super middleweight where they have got to fight me.

“It is just about timing.”

Billy Joe Saunders v Shefat Isufi headlines the bill at the Lamex Stadium, home of Stevenage FC, with unbeaten heavyweight Joe Joyce in the chief supporting contest against Alexander Ustinov. 

Tickets can be purchased via borotickets.co.uk and are priced as below:

£250 – Hospitality
£150 – Pitch
£100 – Pitch
£75 – Pitch
£50 – Stand
£40 – Stand
 
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BILLY JOE SAUNDERS DARES CANELO TO FACE HIM

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS has dared Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to face him at either middleweight or super-middleweight.

Saunders was boosted over the weekend when it was confirmed that his showdown against German based Albanian Shefat Isufi at Stevenage FC’s Lamex Stadium on Saturday May 18 will be for the vacant WBO world super-middleweight championship, live on BT Sport.

Gilberto Ramirez has relinquished the title and decided to box at light-heavyweight giving Saunders the opportunity to become a two-weight world champion next week.

The former WBO world middleweight champion said:  “I would love the Canelo fight, but does he want to fight me? I don’t think so.

“If they do want to fight me, ring me up. I am not asking for millions. Just be fair with me and we can get the show on the road.

“Canelo has cemented his name, made good money and is a superstar in the sport. I wouldn’t say he is avoiding me, but there are plenty of people he can pick apart from Billy Joe Saunders.

“That is a fact. Who wants to fight a slick southpaw who is hard to hit?“It could be middleweight or super-middleweight. I want the big fights and that is a reason I am moving up to super-middleweight. I cannot get the big fights at middleweight.”

‘Canelo’ outpointed Daniel Jacobs in a world middleweight title clash on Saturday, but stipulated that the American could weigh no more than 170lb on fight morning.

Jacobs was 3.6lb over which reportedly cost him around $750,000 in penalties and although Saunders will not be greedy with demands, he insisted: “I wouldn’t be restricted for any weight clauses at all.

“Daniel Jacobs was clearly struggling to come in the next day only three pounds over the agreed weight.  If he wanted to balloon up he would have been eight or nine pounds above what he was at the weigh-in.

“That has cost him a lot of money and I believe that took a bit of performance away from Jacobs.”

If Saunders adds the WBO 168lb title to his collection, another juicy clash would be a ‘Battle of Britain’ against Liverpool’s WBA Super champion, Callum Smith.

Hatfield traveller Saunders added: “Callum is a good fighter and big, but I think people go on about size in this sport too much.

“We saw David Haye beating Nikolai Valuev. Size doesn’t matter in this sport.

“If you’re good enough, you’re good enough, end of and I believe I am good enough to beat Callum Smith. That is a fight I would entertain.”

The vacant WBO super-middleweight title clash between Billy Joe Saunders and Shefat Isufi headlines the bill at Stevenage football ground with unbeaten heavyweight Joe Joyce facing former world title challenger Alexander Ustinov in the chief supporting contest. 

British super-bantamweight champion Brad Foster faces Commonwealth title holder , Ashley Lane with both belts on the line. Chingford prospect Boy Jones Jr fights for the vacant WBO Youth World Lightweight title 

Tickets can be purchased via borotickets.co.uk and are priced as below: 
£250 – Hospitality
£150 – Pitch
£100 – Pitch
£75 – Pitch
£50 – Stand
£40 – Stand

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SAUNDERS ADMITS ISUFI IS A THREAT TO HIS SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHT DREAM

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS insists he will not underestimate Shefat Isufi in his big super-middleweight test.Saunders (27-0, 13 KOs) will be in action just 12 miles from his Hatfield home when he faces the German based Albanian at Stevenage FC’s Lamex Stadium on Saturday May 18, live on BT Sport.

The WBO ‘Interim’ title is currently on the line although promoter Frank Warren hopes the organisation’s vacant world title will be at stake as champion Gilberto Ramirez is believed to be considering relinquishing and boxing at light-heavyweight.Isufi (27-3-2, 20 KOs) is ranked number one in the latest WBO rankings with Saunders right behind him in the second position.

Saunders, 29, said: “It is one of them where people don’t expect too much, but Isufi can be very dangerous.

“He has come from nothing and got his big chance. You don’t get ranked number one in the world for nothing, especially with who he is promotion wise.

“He has boxed his way into that position. I have to take him seriously and deal with him appropriately.”

Saunders has settled well with trainer Ben Davison after splitting with Dominic Ingle and there is no doubt that his words about taking Isufi seriously are true.

The former WBO champion has been living at a hotel on the outskirts of Manchester for seven weeks and training at Ricky Hatton’s gym.

“I am loving it at Hatton’s gym with Ben and I am just enjoying it again, added Saunders.

“I have to be happy at what I am doing and I will get the best out of myself. If It’s not like that it can become a slog.

“There is no secret that 2018 was a terrible year with terrible memories. Everything got to me a little bit.

“I just needed a complete change. It was the same when I was with Jimmy Tibbs. He was the best coach. I always use the term ‘coach’ and ‘trainer’ and he was the best purist coach I have been around.

“I just needed a change then because my head was going stale. Sometimes when your head goes stale you need that bit of change as a fighter and that is what I needed to get that spark.

“I have to stay ready. Because of my style – slick and fast, you don’t get to keep that forever so I want to show it while I’ve got it and beat whoever they put in front of me.”

Billy Joe Saunders v Shefat Isufi headlines the bill at the Lamex Stadium, home of Stevenage FC with unbeaten heavyweight Joe Joyce in the chief supporting contest.

Tickets can be purchased via borotickets.co.uk and are priced as below:
£250 – Hospitality
£150 – Pitch
£100 – Pitch
£75 – Pitch
£50 – Stand
£40 – Stand

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SAUNDERS TELLS RAMIREZ: SHOW YOU’RE MAN ENOUGH TO FIGHT ME

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS has challenged WBO super-middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez to face him or ditch his world title.The Mexican hinted after a winning light-heavyweight debut at the weekend that his future belongs in the bigger 175lb division.Saunders (27-0,13 KOs) faces German based Albanian Shefat Isufi (27-3-2, 20 KOs) at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium on Saturday May 18, live on BT Sport for the WBO interim super-middleweight crown.Ramirez will be ordered to face the winner, unless he relinquishes the title he has held for three years.If he does hand back his crown, the Saunders v Isufi fight is likely to be elevated to full world title status.Former unbeaten WBO middleweight champion Saunders snapped: “I am raring to go for Ramirez, but if he doesn’t want to face me then give up the title and let me fight for the full championship.“If it’s not going to happen against me after my ‘interim’ title fight then I would rather him say, now.“He has said he can make 12 stone for Callum Smith so I don’t see the problem with myself. If he can make 12 stone for Callum, he can make 12 stone for me.“I understand the rules of boxing. If you haven’t got the right style, opponents may not want to know you.“His promoter Bob Arum has a good working relationship with Frank Warren and MTK, and he has most probably had a conversation with Ramirez.“They know they can make the fight, but do they want it?“Personally myself, I don’t think Ramirez will go ducking anybody, but unless he 100 per-cent knows he’s good at the weight I can’t see him taking the chance of fighting me.“My way of winning fights is slick boxing so that takes a lot of steam out of the opponent especially if you’re weight-drained.”Saunders cannot wait to appear at a stadium just 12 miles from his Hatfield home.And although less than half of his wins have come inside the distance, Saunders reckons the open air crowd at the Lamex Stadium are in for a knockout night.Saunders who is currently training in Manchester added: “I will carry more power up with me. We have been working on a few bits and bobs to improve my power.“I’ve been sparring well, my timing is there, my speed is still there, but I have got to perform at the weight.”Tickets for Saunders v Isufi at Stevenage FC are now on sale via www.borotickets.co.uk and are priced as below:

£200 – Hospitality
£150 – Pitch
£100 – Pitch
£75 – Pitch
£50 – Stand
£40 – Stand
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STEVENAGE TAKING SHAPE – UNDERCARD UPDATE


THE EARLY SUPPORTING cast for Billy Joe Saunders’ WBO Interim world super middleweight title showdown with Shefat Isufi on Saturday May 18 can now be revealed, with a number of further title contests to be confirmed shortly.

Saunders takes on the WBO No.1 ranked super middleweight Isufi at the Lamex Stadium – home of Stevenage FC – and a number of the top young players in the boxing business will be taking to the pitch bidding to score with knockout performances on the night.

After missing out on featuring on the recent Leicester show through illness, the snappy featherweight Ryan ‘The Piranha’ Garner returns to the ring for his ninth professional fight. The exciting 21-year-old from Southampton has recorded six KOs from his eight fights so far and is looking to get himself in title contention this year.

Former world amateur champion Willy Hutchinson will have his eighth pro fight in what will be his fifth fight inside a year as the Scot gathers experience in the light heavyweight division, while cruiserweight James Branch jr from Hainault enters into his fifth pro fight seeking a first KO finish.

Unbeaten super lightweight Sanjeev Sahota returns to the ring at Stevenage looking to build on his 11 wins so far, with gym-mate Harley Benn having his seventh fight at super welterweight.

Long-standing Team GB servant Harvey Horn from Chigwell continues building towards domestic flyweight title action with his sixth pro fight.

In a further special attraction on the night, the multi-titled standout amateur star Lisa Whiteside is set to turn professional and will make her debut at the Lamex Stadium.

The decorated flyweight – a natural rival for Nicola Adams in the pro ranks – is a seven-time national champion and a 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, who also won silver at the 2014 world championships, having won bronze at the 2012 edition. She is also a European championship silver medallist from 2011.

Also featuring on the bill is Streatham super bantamweight Chris Bourke (2-0), Hitchin super middleweight Graham Tirrell (9-0), London light heavyweight Ollie Pattinson (9-0), Aylesbury light heavyweight Adi Burden (8-0) and Milton Keynes middleweight Conor Wright (7-0).
 
Tickets for Saunders v Isufi at Stevenage FC are now on sale via www.borotickets.co.uk and are priced as below:
£200 – Hospitality
£150 – Pitch
£100 – Pitch
£75 – Pitch
£50 – Stand
£40 – Stand
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BILLY JOE SAUNDERS V SHEFAT ISUFI PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Boxing – Billy Joe Saunders Press Conference – The Lamex Stadium, Stevenage, Britain – March 25, 2019 Billy Joe Saunders, Shefat Isufi and promoter Frank Warren pose for a photograph after the press conference Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS came face-to-face with Shefat Isufi who he meets for the WBO interim super-middleweight world title at the Lamex Stadium, home of Stevenage FC on Saturday May 18, live on BT SportSaunders (27-0) will be closing in on becoming a two-weight world champion after his unbeaten reign as WBO middleweight champion when he faces Isufi on Frank Warren’s ‘King Of Herts’ bill at the Hertfordshire stadium close to his Hatfield home.Munich based Albanian Isufi (27-3-2) is on a ten fight winning streak, the current WBO intercontinental champion and the number one contender for the WBO title, held by Mexican Gilberto Ramirez.

Here are a selection of quotes from their press conference at the venue today:

FRANK WARREN 

“We were stuck with no London venue available in May, so we decided to think outside the box and go local to Bill, and bring the fight to Stevenage FC. It’s a good facility which will have a 10-12,000 capacity for boxing. “

“We tried to make the Chris Eubank Jr rematch and they didn’t want to know, they don’t want Eubank to fight Billy Joe Saunders under any circumstances.”

“The champion Gilberto Ramirez called the WBO and said he would vacate and they put the fight out to Billy and Isufu and we agreed terms, but Ramirez then said he hadn’t decided so this is now interim title. I believe Ramirez could vacate and the winner will be declared full champion.”

“Billy has been very avoided. We signed twice to fight Golovkin and Canelo doesn’t want to fight him.”

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS 

“This is a good homecoming, but a bit of pressure because I have never boxed so close to home. I’ve got to make sure I’m on my game because Isufi is looking to take my head off. My mind has got to be focused and set new challenges.”

“I love the Ingle gym and loved working with Dominic Ingle and there are no hard feelings – he may even be in the corner with Ben. There is unfinished business in me and people haven’t seen the best.”

“I have never been more determined and I have a lot to prove this year. I had a terrible 2018 inside and outside the ring and I know I have to be on top flight for Isufi.”

“I am open to boxing at super-middleweight and middleweight. I’ve not got miles on the clock, in my 27 fights I have taken ten hard punches and I am just coming into my prime. I believe I am the best middleweight and super-middleweight in the world bar none. I want to get noticed at 168lb. I would definitely fancy a fight against Callum Smith. I mentioned it to Frank before that it would be a good fight to make. He is great fighter and the type I want to test myself against. It would be hard to say, ‘No’ to that fight.”

BEN DAVISON (Saunders Trainer) 

“I’ve always worked with Billy Joe on the technical side. We carried on doing some sessions together and a few weeks ago Billy gave me the call and I was more than happy to accept.”

“When Tyson Fury was in a bad position Billy put us together and we’re there to help each other. Billy and Tyson make a good little team. Tyson’s wife always tells me how much Billy was in touch encouraging him to get back in the gym when he was struggling.”  

“Billy should leave this sport knowing he one of the best British fighters ever. Isufi is a stern test, but Billy will produce the goods.”

SHEFAT ISUFI 

“Billy can have a million people cheering him on, there’s only going to be two of us in that ring on fight night. I will give Billy Joe a very tough night.”

“Billy is very good fighter, very fast and quick and a good puncher but I am very confident I will give him a tough time.” 

“I promised my father on his death bed that I would be a world champion and this is my chance.”Saunders vs Isufi at the Lamex Stadium is subject to licensing and will go on sale via www.borotickets.co.uk on April 1st.

Tickets will be priced as below:

£200 – Hospitality
£150 – Pitch
£100 – Pitch
£75 – Pitch
£50 – Stand
£40 – Stand
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HOME SOIL RETURN FOR SAUNDERS AT STEVENAGE


BILLY JOE SAUNDERS will fight Shefat Isufi for the WBO Interim super middleweight world title on Saturday May 18 at The Lamex Stadium, home of Stevenage Football Club, live on BT Sport.

For Saunders, 27-0, the big night in the centre of pitch at Stevenage will represent a first professional fight on home turf in Hertfordshire, with the 29-year-old southpaw stylist hailing from nearby Hatfield.

The former Southern Area, Commonwealth, British, WBO International and European champion was an undefeated WBO world champion at middleweight, having won the belt in December 2015 with a points victory over former champion Andy Lee.

Successful defences followed against Artur Akavov, Willie Monroe jr and, most notably, a career-best performance against David Lemieux on away soil in Canada.

He was set to make a further defence last October against mandatory challenger Demetrius Andrade, but eventually opted to relinquish his title after the Massachusetts commission refused to licence him to fight in Boston after an adverse finding in a VADA test, despite the fact he would have been clear to defend under the rules of the British Boxing Board of Control, as well as the UKAD and WADA agencies that govern doping protocols.

Saunders returned to the ring in December in a keep busy exercise against Charles Adamu and was recently installed as mandatory challenger for his previous title, with Andrade now holding the belt.

He will now break new territory by moving up to 168lbs and seeking to reign at a second weight class.

His opponent is the WBO No.1 ranked Munich-based Serbian Isufi, who holds a record of 27-3-2 with 20 KOs. The 29-year-old is the holder of the WBO Intercontinental title and has made two defences of the belt he won by defeating David Zegarra via an 11th round stoppage for the vacant title in July 2017.

He has previously fought for and won the IBF European title at light heavyweight, as well as the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council cruiserweight title. Isufi is undefeated as a super middleweight.

“I am very, very happy for the fight, more or less, to be taking place in my home town,” said Saunders on the new venue development. “Stevenage and Hatfield is my area and I am excited to be fighting in front of my ‘home’ fans and I am finally home.

“This is my real homecoming from the time I turned pro really.

“I know I have got great support there and I look forward to them all coming out and seeing me put on a brilliant display of boxing. I am just happy I am in this position now and Frank (promoter, Warren) has made it work.

“It is good times and I reckon it will be a complete sell-out. I’ve got a lot of support in the town and it’s a bonus that Stevenage is just along the A1, which is what all my supporters will be travelling on.”

Saunders was initially set to fight for the full WBO world championship against Isufi following the planned move of the champion Gilberto Ramirez to light heavyweight. After notifying the governing body of his intention to leave the division, the Mexican later retracted his statement, although he will fight for the first time at light heavyweight on April 12 in Los Angeles.

Saunders is unfazed by the about-turn and states that he would prefer to personally part the champion from his belt in the ring.

“It is what it is and no problem,” he reasoned. “I shall fight this No.1 ranked opponent and I will be taking his spot and then I will fight Ramirez after. Let’s get that fight going on.

“If he moves up I would become world champion but I don’t want to win it that way because I want to beat the champion.
“It is all good vibes from me, I am willing to fight anybody in the super middleweight or middleweight category and put on a masterful display.”

Promoter Frank Warren added: “I am delighted to be returning Bill to his home patch for what is a significant development in his career.
“Moving up to super middleweight opens up all sort of doors for future fights, the massive fights he craved at middleweight where his willingness to fight the other champions was not reciprocated.

“Bill has operated at middleweight for a long time now and reached the top, so we both now believe the time is right to expand his horizons and move up a weight.

“If he is successful against Isufi – and we are not underestimating the threat he poses – Bill will either become world champion or fight Ramirez for the title should he stick around at super middleweight.

“Stevenage is new territory for us and I am looking forward to breaking new ground. I am sure the local fans will come out in numbers to support their local man as Bill enters this next phase of his career.”

Saunders vs Isufi at the Lamex Stadium is subject to licensing and will go on sale via www.borotickets.co.uk on April 1st.

Tickets will be priced as below:

£200 – Hospitality
£150 – Pitch
£100 – Pitch
£75 – Pitch
£50 – Stand
£40 – Stand
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QUEENSBERRY PROMOTIONS STATEMENT ON BILLY JOE SAUNDERS


Queensberry Promotions are pleased to confirm that Billy Joe Saunders’ next fight will be against Shefat Isufi at Super Middleweight live on BT Sport.
 
With the widely reported changes in Billy Joe Saunders’ training situation and the current status of the WBO World Super Middleweight Title, this fight will not take place on April 13th at the SSE Arena, Wembley as was previously announced. The fight will be moved to a new date in May at a venue to be confirmed at a later date.
 
There will be an announcement on an exciting new London show for April featuring some of our best up and coming local talent this week and this will be followed up next with details on where and when Saunders v Isufi takes place.

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