Billy Joe Saunders Defends His Title – Billy Joe Saunders will make the first defense of his WBO World middleweight title on April 30 at the Copper Box Arena in London. The undefeated Saunders (23-0, 12 KOs) will oppose Max Bursak (32-4-1, 15 KOs) of Kiev, Ukraine.
Saunders represented England in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. At age eighteen, he was one of the youngest competitors at the games. He won his title on Dec. 19 of last year with a majority decision over Andy Lee. That was a historic event, marking the first meeting between Irish Travelers in a match sanctioned for a world boxing title. The grandson of a prominent bare-knuckle fighter, Saunders resides near the gypsy caravan site where he was raised.
Saunders skipped a court appearance to attend yesterday’s press conference and a warrant was issued for his arrest. The charges have something to do with allowing a dangerous dog to run free and keeping a guard dog on his property without posting the required warning sign.
The 31-year-old Bursak has never been knocked out. His four losses came in 12-round bouts. However, he has struggled of late to make the middleweight limit. His recent bouts have been contested in the 168-pound class.
Barring a slip-up, Saunders is on course for some big-money bouts. Rematches with Andy Lee and Chris Eubank, Jr. would draw well in England. Saunders saddled Eubank (21-1) with his first professional defeat, winning a split decision, but it was Eubank that looked stronger at the finish.
Billy Joe Saunders Defends His Title
Potential mega-fights loom in matches that pit Saunders against Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez.
Saunders referenced Golovkin at the press conference: “I’ve worked long and hard to get where I am and look at the massive fights ahead of me against the likes of Golovkin.”
Saunders’ promoter Frank Warren is assuredly in no hurry to make that match. In stating his opposition to the proposal to allow professional boxers to compete in the Olympics, Warren invoked Golovkin’s name, calling the Kazakhstani middleweight “the world’s most fearsome fighter.”
Check out a video with Ray Flores talking about The Middleweight Division at The Boxing Channel