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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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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WORLD TITLE STAGE SET FOR SAUNDERS AT SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS will bid to become a two-weight world champion when he challenges for the vacant WBO super middleweight world title against Shefat Isufi at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday April 13, live on BT Sport.

Saunders, a 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

The 29-year-old 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.

The Hatfield southpaw 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.

Still undefeated at 27-0, 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.

Saunders 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.

“It is a brilliant opening for me,” said Saunders on his shot at a second world title and went on to explain his reasoning for passing up his mandatory status at middleweight.

“You’ve got these rumours that Andrade is going for shoulder surgery, as well as the financial side of it with the split – it all doesn’t add up.

“Me winning this super middleweight title will put me in a great position for unifications with the likes of Callum Smith, while we’ve got Chris Eubank boxing James DeGale at the weekend.

“There are a lot of big, big fights at this weight, but my real home of homes is middleweight, so I can move down at any time I want and be back as mandatory for my middleweight title and then become a three-time world champion.

“So I am really looking forward to it and Isufi comes as a really stiff test. He is very, very strong and you have to be really switched on and calculating with this sort of opponent. He is one of those who, with what he does, he does very, very well when the bell goes.

“He has boxed at light heavyweight and cruiserweight so he is going to be a big, big lump and I need to make sure I am on it and stay away from those big bombs.”

Saunders went on to acknowledge that the winning of another world title will afford him the licence to remain active and not be left waiting where big fights are concerned.

“Boxing has its ups and downs, so when you get a world title opportunity it is hard to turn it down,” he considered.

“I have to take my hat off to Frank Warren because he has delivered for me after we were finding it hard to make the Andrade situation happen at this time.

“It will 100 per cent happen in the future, not on their terms, but on mine because I am the bigger name and have beaten the better men. I will prove it by going up a weight, winning another world title and take it from there.

“If the big fights at middleweight come along then fine, but if not I am giving myself another gate to walk through. I have been stuck in one room where I have been looking around and none of these big middleweights want to fight. I have put myself on offer to them and even when I was world champion it wasn’t happening.

“I am opening another door now and giving myself a little bit more variety when it comes to opponents.”

Promoter Frank Warren added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Bill to become a two-weight world champion. He has operated at middleweight for a long time and reached the pinnacle, so we both now believe the time is right for him to step up and prove himself at super middleweight.

“If he is successful against Isufi – and nobody is taking the threat he presents lightly – the possibilities are huge, with unifications and great fights all out there for him.

“I am sure the fans will get behind Bill in their numbers and support him in bidding to become a world champion once again.”

An announcement will be made soon on when tickets can be purchased for this event.

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