Olympian Billy Joe's first professional opponent revealed

BOXER Billy Joe Saunders first professional opponent has been confirmed. Frank Warren s Olympic stars face an Eastern invasion when they make their long-awaited pro debuts at the NIA in Birmingham on Saturday, February 28. James DeGale, Frankie Gavin and

BOXER Billy Joe Saunders' first professional opponent has been confirmed.

Frank Warren's Olympic stars face an Eastern invasion when they make their long-awaited pro debuts at the NIA in Birmingham on Saturday, February 28.

James DeGale, Frankie Gavin and Hatfield fighter Saunders will all meet opponents from former Iron Curtain countries.

Saunders, who lives on a travellers' site on the A414, will face former Hungarian light-welterweight champion Attila Molnar.


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Olympic middleweight champion DeGale takes on Vepkhia Tchilaia, a 21-year-old from Tbilisi, Georgia.

Frankie Gavin, the world amateur champion, tackles a second Georgian, 22-year-old George Kadaria

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All three opponents have vowed to cause an upset in a fortnight's time, and, given their professional experience, will pose stiff tests to each of the three Olympians.

Saunders, 19, said: "I just can't wait to get in the ring and make a statement.

"My opponent has been around a bit and he's even boxed the full 12 rounds before, so if I look good against him then I'll know I'm going in the right direction."

The Herts fighter, now trained by Jimmy Tibbs, has been sparring with DeGale.

And 23-year-old Olympic gold medallist DeGale said: "Training has been going brilliantly, but I've had an extra edge since I've known who I will be facing.

"I boxed a few Eastern Europeans when I was an amateur and did well against them, but they are always tough and I know Tchilaia will come to fight."

Tickets for the NIA bill are priced at �30, �50, �100 and �150.

They are available from: Ticket Factory on

0844 338 8000; See Tickets on 0871 220 0260; Ticketmaster on 0844 847 2500 and Ticketline on 0871 888 9991.

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