|Record:||W26 (12) - L0 - D0|
|Status:||Former WBO World Middleweight Champion|
Billy Joe Saunders is a professional Middleweight boxer and the reigning and defending WBO World Champion. He has won the British, Commonwealth, European & WBO International Middleweight Championships.
Saunders’ highly impressive amateur record saw him win 49 bouts consecutively at senior level. His amateur clout earned him the right to fight for a spot at the Beijing Olympics.
Saunders finished in third spot at the European qualifiers in Pescara, Italy, in March 2008. This made him the first athlete from a Romani Gypsy background to compete for Great Britain at the Olympics.
Saunders’ first pro fight was at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, against Hungarian Attila Molnar. He ended the fight confidently by way of a round two TKO. His following two fights ended with the same dramatic result.
In 2011, Saunders defeated Gary Boulden by points to claim the Southern Arena Middleweight Championship. The following year, the Hatfield southpaw defeated Tony Hill for the vacant Commonwealth Middleweight title. He has since defended the title several times.
Saunders beat the tough Nick Blackwell in 2012 by a unanimous points decision to claim the vacant British Middleweight title.
The following year, the southpaw beat an undefeated Gary O’Sullivan in a highly anticipated bout, winning the vacant WBO International Middleweight title.
The two fighters have remained friends and often train together. In the same year, Saunders successfully defended his British and Commonwealth titles against an unbeaten John Ryder.
In 2014 he dramatically knocked out 34-year-old Italian Emanuele Blandamura in the eighth round to claim the vacant European Middleweight Championship.
On November 29, 2014 Billy Joe Saunders entered the ring with rival Chris Eubank Jr.
The pair had spent recent years calling each other out. Despite not needing the bout for his ranking, Saunders fought Eubank Jr as chief undercard to the massive Bad Blood card headlined by Dereck Chisora v Tyson Fury.
Saunders had his European, British and Commonwealth titles on the line, and both fighters risked their undefeated status.
Eubank Jr started slow and Billy Joe Saunders got ahead of the big-puncher on points. Saunders resisted being drawn into a slug-out for the majority of the fight, but as the rounds wore on he often found himself in a dog-fight with the knockout-artist.
However Saunders’ slick southpaw skills and tough chin brought him through and he won the fight by a split points decision. This was his fourth consecutive win over an unbeaten fighter.
The victory made Saunders the first traveller to win the British Middleweight Championship outright, having defended it three times. He gave the belt to his father as a gift and promised Chris Eubank Jr a rematch, along with a shot at his world title, once he had won it.
He fulfilled one of his promises by becoming the mandatory challenger for Andy Lee’s WBO World Middleweight belt. It marked the first time two boxers with travelling backgrounds have competed for a world title, making it a huge fight in travelling community.
Hatfield’s Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) defeated Irish hero Lee to take the WBO strap in a close and absorbing fight back in December 2015 that saw the undefeated star floor the former Champion twice in the third round and go on to claim a majority decision from the judges.
A series of injuries led to a frustrating 2016 for Saunders, but he eventually defended his belt last December against Artur Akavov in Glasgow. Saunders was not at his best, but outpointed the game Russian. He was due to take on Avtandil Khurtsidze before the Georgian’s arrest in June.
Saunders made the second defence of his crown against New York’s Willie Monroe Jr on Saturday 16th September.
Billy Joe Saunders put on a dazzling boxing display to retain his WBO Middleweight World Title against David Lemieux at the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec on Saturday 16th December, 2017
Saunders, fighting outside of the United Kingdom for the first time in his professional career, cruised to a unanimous decision in a fight that was incredibly one-sided throughout, thanks to the southpaw’s slick moves.
Hatfield’s Saunders dismantled the home favourite, his hand speed and footwork disarming the powerful Lemieux, who had 33 knockouts in 38 wins before Saturday.
A combination uppercut in the fourth was one highlight, with the Briton then drawing boos from the home crowd after taunting the Canadian for missing shots in the fifth.
He further pressed home his superiority in the seventh, leaving Lemieux bloodied after a series of jabs as he won every round on one judge’s scorecard and defended his title for a third time.
“I knew what sort of fighter David Lemieux is, and I knew what sort of coach he’s got,” said Saunders. “I knew what he was coming for. I look easy to hurt, but you can’t hit me. I like going to somebody’s backyard because I perform better. I’m a whole different animal now. When I hurt David, I wanted to put it on him. I really did, but that’s what I pay my trainer Dominic Ingle to do. I went to put it on him, but he told me to take my time, and that was the best advice.”
“I wasn’t at my best. Hats off to Billy Joe,” said Lemieux. “From the second round on, I could not use my left hand the way I wanted, and he was on the run, so I had a hard time throwing my shots. It wasn’t my best night. A lot of this was because of me, because I couldn’t use my left hand the way I wanted to. He was running from the first round to the end, and I guess that’s his strategy to win. If this is the way you want to win, then congratulations.”
By winning, and doing so easily and impressively, Saunders positioned himself for a possible big-money unification fight against the winner of the expected May 5 rematch between three-belt world champion Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez. Saunders wants GGG.
“Golovkin, you keep saying you want my WBO belt,” said Saunders, who has the only major belt Golovkin doesn’t have. “Fight me now. You’ll be punching fresh air.”
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|Born:||Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom|
|Residence:||Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom|
|16/12/2017||David Lemieux||Place Bell in Laval, Quebec||UD||12|
|16/09/2017||Willie Monroe Jr||Copper Box Arena, London||UD||12|
|03/12/2016||Artur Akavov||Lagoon Leisure Centre, Paisley, Scotland||UD||12|
|19/12/2015||Andy Lee||Manchester Arena, Manchester||WIN (MD)||12|
|24/07/2015||Yoann Bloyer||Wembley Arena, Wembley, London, United Kingdom||TKO||4|
|29/11/2014||Chris Eubank Jr||Excel, London, Docklands, United Kingdom||WIN (SD)||12|
|09/04/2015||Emanuele Blandamura||Phones 4u Arena, Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom||WIN (KO)||8|
|21/09/2013||John Ryder||Copper Box Arena, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Hackney Wick, London, United Kingdom||WIN (UD)||12|
|20/07/2013||Gary O'Sullivan||Wembley Arena, Wembley, London, United Kingdom||WIN (UD)||12|
|21/03/2013||Matthew Hall||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, United Kingdom||WIN (UD)||12|
|15/12/2015||Nick Blackwell||ExCel Arena, Dockland, London, United Kingdom||WIN (UD)||12|
|14/09/2012||Jarrod Fletcher||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, United Kingdom||WIN (TKO)||2|
|01/06/2012||Bradley Pryce||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, United Kingdom||WIN (UD)||12|
|28/04/2012||Tony Hill||Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, United Kingdom||WIN (TKO)||1|
|14/12/2011||Tommy Tolan||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, United Kingdom||WIN (TKO)||1|
|05/11/2015||Gary Boulden||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, United Kingdom||WIN (PTS)||10|
|15/10/2011||Norbert Szekeres||Echo Arena, Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom||WIN (TKO)||1|
|21/05/2011||Kevin Hammond||O2 Arena (Millenium Dome), Greenwich, London, United Kingdom||WIN (TKO)||2|
|02/04/2011||Turgay Uzun||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, United Kingdom||WIN (RTD)||2|
|11/12/2010||Tony Randell||Echo Arena, Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom||WIN (TKO)||2|
|15/05/2010||Andy Butlin||Upton Park, West Ham, London, United Kingdom||WIN (PTS)||6|
|05/12/2009||Lee Noble||Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom||WIN (PTS)||6|
|09/10/2009||Alex Spitko||York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, United Kingdom||WIN (PTS)||4|
|18/07/2009||Matt Scriven||M.E.N. Arena, Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom||WIN (TKO)||2|
|15/05/2009||Ronny Gabel||Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom||WIN (TKO)||2|
|28/02/2009||Attila Molnar||National Indoor Arena, Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom||WIN (TKO)||2|