Golovkin vs Saunders In Play for the Autumn!
(April 6th) Promoter Frank Warren has confirmed that talks are in progress for WBO Middleweight World Champion Billy Joe Saunders to face WBA, WBC and IBF Champion Gennady Golovkin in the autumn, should he come through his fight with Martin Murray at London’s 02 Arena on June 23rd.
Golovkin was due to fight Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on May 5th in Las Vegas, but the Mexican withdrew from the rematch on Tuesday, causing widespread rumours that Saunders would step in as a late replacement.
However, Saunders’ promoter has confirmed that the undefeated Hatfield star will make the fourth defence of his World Title against domestic rival Murray on June 23rd as originally planned.
“I’ve spoken with Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler and Golovkin v Saunders is in play for this Autumn,” said Warren. “May 5th was never going to happen because of Bill’s hand injury and Golovkin’s team are going ahead with a fight on that date so couldn’t make a fight in June.
“Bill will definitely be defending his belt against Martin Murray on June 23rd.
“If he comes through his fight against Martin then we are hoping he will get the chance to unify the Middleweight division against Golovkin in the autumn. That would be a huge fight and one we would love to make here in the UK.
“Golovkin has said many times that he wants to add the WBO belt to his collection and it’s a fight that Bill would jump at. There should be no problem making it – on paper it is a brilliant fight and one fans have been calling for.
“This is a fight that will define Bill’s legacy and I genuinely believe he will win. If anyone can beat Golovkin then it’s Bill, he has the style and the boxing skills. But first he has to deal with Martin on June 23rd.”
Tickets for Saunders vs Murray priced form £40 (Tier) to £300 (Hospitality) are available to purchase via www.axs.com.
Billy Joe Saunders: “I’m Nobody’s Back-Up Plan!
(March 26th) Billy Joe Saunders has insisted that despite his eagerness to unify with Gennady Golovkin, he will not be treated as a back-up plan.
On May 5th, Canelo Alvarez and Golovkin are scheduled to face each other in a rematch of their first meeting that ended in a controversial draw.
Canelo recently tested positive for the banned drug clenbuterol in drug tests conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).
If the highly-anticipated rematch does not go ahead, Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez has hinted that Golovkin would “go a different way” and target a fight with undefeated WBO Champion Saunders.
Golovkin vs Saunders
Despite Sanchez claiming that Saunders would be “chomping at the bit” to face Golovkin as a ‘plan B’, the Hatfield man has reiterated that if the Middleweight foes meet in the ring, it will be on his terms.
“First of all me and Frank signed a contract to fight Golovkin before and they were the ones that pulled out, not me,” said Saunders. “I’m no back-up plan or plan B to anyone, I’m a World Champion and I believe that I’m the best in the division.
“If anything, Golovkin is my back-up plan. He is only saying this now because he is worried about getting beat by Canelo. He thinks that if he loses he’s going to fight again straight away for my belt.
“If he gets beat and comes to me without his belts then obviously I’m the A side and he’s the B side. If he comes to me with his belts then most definitely I’ll look forward to fighting him but he’s got Canelo to worry about first.
“Him and his trainer can talk as much crap as they want but when it comes down to it I’m ready to do the walking as well as the talking – and I’ve proved that before. For now all of my focus is on beating Martin Murray on Saturday 23rd June.”
All original tickets will be valid for new Saturday 23rd June date. If you are unable to make the new date, fans can contact their point of purchase should they require a refund during the next 14 days.
Billy Joe Saunders Injured Murray Bout Postponed!
(March 20th) WBO Middleweight World Champion Billy Joe Saunders has suffered an injury to his hand that has scuppered his plans to defend his title against Martin Murray on Saturday 14th April at The 02 in London.
Saunders, who suffered his injury during a training session, is devastated that he will not be fit to box on April 14th as he was looking forward to producing another masterclass after his career-best performance against David Lemieux at the Place Bell in Laval, Canada in December.
He will now make the fourth defence of his WBO crown against Murray at The 02 on Saturday 23rd June, topping an action-packed card that features Anthony Yarde, Daniel Dubois, Ohara Davies and a host of other exciting match-ups.
“I’m gutted for Martin and I’m gutted for the fans,” said Saunders. “I felt my hand go during a session this week and sought medical advice immediately. Unfortunately I’ve been told that I can’t punch anything for four weeks so we’ve been left with no choice but to withdraw from the date.
“I’d like to thank my promoter Frank Warren for quickly sorting a new date for the fight. My trainer Dominic Ingle will make sure that I’m fit and prepared to put on another show on June 23rd.
“This is an extremely tough sport and these things can happen. It is vital that I’m firing on all cylinders heading into this fight but for now it’s all about recovering properly and focusing on the new June 23rd date.”
“It is extremely frustrating as tickets were going very well and we were all geared up for a fantastic evening of boxing on April 14th,” said promoter Frank warren. “I apologise to all of the fans that have bought tickets for the April 14th date but all original tickets will be valid for the new June 23rd date.
“We are also working on a new date for the WBO Super-Lightweight World Title fight between Terry Flanagan and Maurice Hooker. I am speaking with Hooker’s representative Dino Duva and we will be making an announcement this week on where and when this fight takes place.
“It is not straightforward as this is an ordered fight for a Vacant Title but we are working hard to get everything sorted and our priority is to secure Terry his chance to become a Two Weight World Champion”.
Bumper Night Looming at the O2!
By Frank Warren
OUR MAMMOTH SHOW at the 02 Arena on April 14 is now firmly on the horizon and it promises to be a real treat for true fans of the sport.
It is a card that is potentially compelling from top to bottom, one that is stacked with proper fights that could go either way and one that will have huge bearing on how the rest of the year plays out.
For the co-headliner, Billy Joe Saunders, for instance, the stakes couldn’t be much higher. He has got a real awkward job on his hands against Martin Murray who, as he pointed out himself, brings nothing to the party apart from a bloody hard fight.
As ever with Bill, it is about what comes next, but his ultimate prize of a date with either Canelo or Golovkin will only become a reality if he overcomes Murray in style.
We do seem to have been talking about him fighting the ‘big two’ for some time, but we are dealing with a different animal in Bill now – a switched on professional athlete who I believe has moved himself into the elite category.
It is now a ‘big three’ for me and what Bill has to do is maintain his momentum and then the super fights he craves will materialise.
But nobody, especially Bill, should be lulled into thinking he is going to have an easy night’s work against the St Helens man. Murray has been a bit inactive for a reason over the last year or so and that is because he represents a big risk for any champion or leading contender.
The second helping of world title combat at the 02 is provided by Terry Flanagan and the also unbeaten American Maurice Hooker for the vacant WBO world super lightweight title.
Terry Flanagan v Diego Magdaleno
We have the unusual situation of all four recognised world titles being vacant at the moment due to Terence Crawford stepping up a weight – although Channel 5 strangely chose to acknowledge only three governing bodies and omitted the English interest while dissecting the title prospects of Josh Taylor at the weekend – so there will be some lucrative unification prospects in the pipeline for the winner.
For Terry, however, there are also some tasty domestic duels he might like to consider in the event of him becoming a two-weight world champion.
It is not insignificant that he is sharing a bill with one of our new recruits, Ohara Davies, who will have his first fight on our watch at the 02.
An eye-catching display from Ohara will nudge him towards world title contention, although I am fully aware that both Jack Catterall and Josh Leather will have their own say on the matter a little further down the line and they will all fancy first dibs at Terry, should he overcome Hooker.
Similar to the featherweights, it makes for exciting times on the domestic front for the super lightweights.
Last week we topped up the 02 bill with two fights that you would put money on delivering excitement for the fans.
Darryll Williams defending his English super middleweight title against Lennox Clarke and the unbeaten Raza Hamza taking a big step up against Lewis Pettitt are two top quality additions to the undercard.
Darryll did dabble with the idea of retirement a few months ago before I managed to talk him out of it. He made a big impression on the BT Sport audience last year with his two thrilling wins over Jahmaine Smyle and calling time on himself would have been a great shame.
Unfortunately he wasn’t able to capitalise on his epic double in the following months and part of that was down to me, so we are hopefully going to make up for it now.
Lewis, as I am sure he will acknowledge himself, is entering into crossroads territory with his fight against young Raza, so there is everything to play for in this one.
It is a big leap up in class for the unbeaten Birmingham boy and it is always pleasing when young fighters show the inclination to enter into fights where they know they will be up against it.
It is the only way forward though for fighters who back themselves and we need to see more of it from young prospects across the board.
Three of the top – if not the top – prospects in the country will also be on show at the 02 in Anthony Yarde, Daniel Dubois and Ryan Garner, making it a night not to be missed on April 14!
All the ingredients are there for a classic night of boxing.
Saunders vs Murray & Flanagan vs Hooker
World Championship Show Confirmed for April 14th!
(February 19th) Hall of Fame Promoter Frank Warren will stage a double World Title card on Saturday 14th April featuring Billy Joe Saunders’ defense of his WBO World Middleweight Championship against domestic rival Martin Murray, alongside Terry Flanagan’s challenge for the vacant WBO World Super Lightweight title against unbeaten American Maurice Hooker. The card will be broadcast live in the UK on BT Sport and BoxNation.
Saunders, fresh from a 12-round masterclass against David Lemieux in the Canadian’s home town, returns to the UK to face long-time rival Martin Murray. Saunders’ career best performance in Canada has seen him risen to be considered by many the top active boxer in the UK and the Hatfield man is looking for 2018 to be the biggest year of his career.
Murray is the final hurdle for Saunders in obtaining a complete domestic whitewash of British and Irish Middleweights that already includes Andy Lee, Chris Eubank Jr, Spike O’Sullivan, John Ryder and Nick Blackwell. Should Saunders overcome Murray on the 14th April it is likely to clear the path for a blockbuster showdown for all the World Middleweight Titles against the winner of the highly anticipated rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.
Saunders said: ‘Martin Murray is a good fighter and I have got the greatest of respect for him. But he’s in the way of what I’m aiming for this year and that is to become Undisputed Middleweight World Champion. He’s coming try and win my world title and I’m sure it’s going to be a good fight!’
Murray who many felt did enough to become a Middleweight World Champion against both Sergio Martinez and Felix Sturm, only to be undone by the judges’ scorecards, is coming off a big win against Gabriel Rosado and will be out looking to scupper Saunders’ plans of facing Golovkin or Canelo and grab that blockbuster undisputed World title showdown for himself.
The St. Helen’s man said, ‘I rate Billy Joe as a fighter, he’s one of slickest out there and he is coming off of a great win and will be very confident. But I’m very confident, this is my time to become World Champion, as it’s the only thing I have left to do.
I’ve fought everyone and in my opinion at Middleweight I have only one genuine loss which is against Gennady Golovkin who is the best out there.
I don’t count Martinez or Sturm as genuine losses because of the scorecards. But this time around, in my first World Title fight at home, as we are both British fighters fighting on home soil, I know the best man on the night will get the win and leave the arena as World Champion.’
In the other World Title clash on the card, unbeaten former WBO World Lightweight Champion Terry Flanagan faces unbeaten American Maurice Hooker for the WBO World Super Lightweight Championship, in his first contest at the weight. Flanagan had defended his 135lb. World Title 5 times before relinquishing the belt to move to Super Lightweight, a more comfortable weight class for his stature.
Flanagan said: ‘Hooker is a very good unbeaten fighter, he fights on the back foot and looks to catch you from distance. However, I’m very confident I’ll be able to deal with anything he throws at me to become a two-weight World Champion. Winning this fight will prove I’m a legitimate 140lb fighter I’ll be looking to unify the belts later in the year.’
Whilst undefeated American Maurice Hooker said: ‘I’m looking forward to coming to the UK to fight Flanagan and to become World Champion. We are both undefeated fighters and I’m sure it’s going to be a fantastic fight!’