Billy Joe produces mature display in Olympic opener

PUBLISHED: 15:27 10 August 2008 | UPDATED: 22:13 26 October 2009

Hatfield boxer Billy Joe Saunders

Hatfield boxer Billy Joe Saunders

BOXER Billy Joe Saunders produced a classy and confident performance to out-point Turkey s Adem Kilicci at the Olympics. Hatfield teenager Billy Joe never looked in any danger in his opening bout in the welterweight division. He won every round en route t

BOXER Billy Joe Saunders produced a classy and confident performance to out-point Turkey's Adem Kilicci at the Olympics.

Hatfield teenager Billy Joe never looked in any danger in his opening bout in the welterweight division.

He won every round en route to an emphatic 14-3 victory over the Turk in Beijing.

It was an impressive display by the 18-year-old Hoddesdon Boxing Academy product as Kilicci won a bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships in Chicago, USA.

Afterwards Billy Joe said: "He's number three in the world and I've just beaten him by more than 10 points."

Billy Joe now faces another tough challenge - a last 16 contest against Cuba's Carlos Banteaux Suarez.

Saunders, who comes from the Romany travelling community, beat the Cuban champion earlier this year in the preliminaries of the Strandja Cup in Bulgaria.

He just got the verdict six months ago on countback after both had scored the same number of points.

Saunders went on to win the tournament in Plovdiv, while Suarez has since been crowned the 2008 Pan American champion.

The two fighters' rematch takes place on Thursday, August 14 at the Workers' Gymnasium in Beijing and promises to be an explosive encounter.

"I'm going to stick it out and give it my all against the Cuban," said Billy Joe, who turns 19 later this month.

"It will be a battle to the end, but I'm in it to win a medal for Great Britain."

Billy Joe won all four rounds against 22-year-old Kilicci with a superb showcase of his boxing ability.

Turkey's best boxing medal hope was unable to land any significant punches on southpaw Saunders.

The Herts hitman came out of the red corner fired up from the first bell and his skill, movement and superior hand speed saw him win the first two-minute round 2-0.

Saunders stretched his lead to 6-1 by the halfway point of the contest after landing a terrific combination to rock his more experienced opponent back.

He was able to pick off the Turkish fighter at ease, landing left-hand punches whilst avoiding any in return by keeping out of range.

The third round was even more one-sided with Saunders taking it 5-1 with some impressive counter-punching and fantastic footwork.

He capped a magnificent exhibition by taking the fourth and final round 3-1 for a 14-3 victory overall.

Despite his mature display, former Cheshunt ABC fighter Saunders admitted he was anxious before climbing into the ring.

"I was a bit nervous, but you have to be able to deal with the pressure," he added.

"It was all new for me today, but Terry (Edwards) sat me down and helped me get things clear in my head.

"Now I've been in the ring here, I hope I can get better and better through the tournament."

Edwards, Team GB's boxing head coach, praised the Hatfield fighter's Olympic debut.

He said: "It was a mature performance from the youngest member of the team against the world bronze medallist."

Saunders was originally earmarked as a potential medallist for the 2012 London Olympics.

Despite a tough draw, he could well claim a medal four years ahead of schedule if he continues his current rate of progress.

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