Billy Joe Saunders set for October first defence of WBO crown on Fury v Klitschko 2 bill

PUBLISHED: 16:50 12 September 2016 | UPDATED: 17:04 13 September 2016

Billy Joe Saunders

Billy Joe Saunders


Hatfield’s WBO world middleweight boxing champion Billy Joe Saunders will make the first defence of his title next month on the undercard of the Tyson Fury against Wladimir Klitschko clash at Manchester Arena.

Saunders has lined up a mandatory title defence against either Russian Artur Akavov or unbeaten American Rob Brant on October 29.

Should he come through that unscathed, the 27-year-old Hertfordshire hitter could take on famed Kazakhstan fighter Gennady Golovkin, who has set his sights on a unification bout with Saunders, as early as February next year.

Next month’s clash will be a return to the north west for undefeated Saunders, who won the title in Manchester last December, defeating Irishman Andy Lee on a majority decision.

Speaking ahead of his first title defence, Saunders said: “We wasted a lot of time with Eubank then I got an injury [hand injury sustained before a previously arranged fight with Max Bursak in April].

“Now I’ve got a date it’s something to get back in before a big one.

“There’s not a lot I could have done about that. Now I know I’ve got a date [and we’ll] sort an opponent out this week.

“It’s just something to get back in and shake some cobwebs off, they need shaking off and then see how I can put my goods to the test against Golovkin.”

Golovkin dazzled British fans by forcing his opponent Kell Brook’s corner to throw in the towel in the fifth round of their contest in London last weekend.

After his win over Brook, Golovkin promptly called for a huge unification bout with Saunders.

Saunders, who holds the only world title belt at middleweight not held by Golovkin, quickly took to social media holding his prized WBO belt accepting Golovkin’s challenge, telling the WBA, IBF and WBA Super Champion “I’m ready when you are”.

Now it looks as if the fight is just around the corner should everything go to plan.

He continued: “He [Golovkin] keeps banging on that he wants a chance at the belt. Now I’m going to give him a chance.

“I’m ready to fight. I’m ready to fight him wherever he wants. I don’t care if he comes to England, America, I don’t care if it’s in a field, I’ll fight him anywhere he wants.”

“I’m fighting October 29. Give me a week off and then I’ll fight him after that. As long as I shake a bit of ring rust off, I only need one fight and then I’m ready to go.”

“I always said I needed 18 months for the GGG fight after Eubank, it’s now time to test myself and see what I’m made of.

“This is not a fight I’ve got to take but it’s one I want to take”

He added: “People are beat before they get in the ring with him.

“They’re like rabbits in the headlights when they look at him.

“He’s just a man and he’s definitely beatable for sure.

“It’s time to test myself and see what I am made of.

“Everyone’s raving on about him but to be honest with you I took a lot of confidence from the weekend.

“I’m not a blown up welterweight, I’m a fully-fledged middleweight.”

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