Mark Hemmings, Sports editor
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
NEW Commonwealth Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders says his first round destruction of Tony Hill at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday was a signal of intent.
In the first boxing show at the London venue for 13 years, Saunders blew away Hill in just 30 seconds of their headlining bout, and he is hungry for more belts.
The Hatfield 22-year-old caught Southampton’s Hill with a sensational right hand moments after the encounter for the vacant title began.
With his opponent stunned, the Herts hitter seized his opportunity and unloaded a barrage of punches forcing the referee to call a premature halt to proceedings as Saunders secured his 13th successive victory since turning professional in 2008.
Speaking afterwards exclusively to the WHT in his Royal Albert Hall dressing room, Saunders said: “I caught him early and that was it, it was an early night.
“People were saying to me it was going to be a hard fight.
“I caught him with a big shot and hurt him and carried on from there.
“He [Hill] went the distance with Kerry Hope, the European champion, and I just did that, so it’s a big statement from me to let the boys know I’m ready and coming for their titles.”
Saunders is next set to make the first defence of his Commonwealth title on June 2 at York Hall, London.
He added: “Hopefully now I will defend this and keep it and be back on the road.
Of performing at the Albert Hall, where his idol Nigel Benn defended the same Commonwealth title in the late 1980s, Saunders added: “It’s unbelievable, I’d love to come back and box here again.”
The Albert Hall has a fabulous boxing history. Prior to Saunders’ fight a 10-bell salute was held in memory of Terry Spinks who died last week at the age of 74. Spinks, who won Olympic gold in 1956, fought at the venue three times.
Of the return to boxing at the Royal Albert Hall, promoter Frank Warren said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be back here, it’s a great arena.”
Reacting to Saunders’ victory, Warren added: “It was very short and sweet. He caught him [Hill] with a tremendous shot, an overhand right.
“He just didn’t let him off the hook and just did what he had to do, it was a very impressive performance.
“To step up and top the bill here was some call, but he went out, did what he had to do and did it in style.
“We had a good turn out from Hertfordshire and he did the business.”