Billy Joe Saunders to move up in weight if Golovkin or Canelo bout fails to happen

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 September 2017

Billy Joe Saunders last fought in December when he defeated Artur Akavov in his first WBO middleweight world-title defence. Picture: CRAIG WATSON/PA WIRE

Billy Joe Saunders last fought in December when he defeated Artur Akavov in his first WBO middleweight world-title defence. Picture: CRAIG WATSON/PA WIRE

PA Wire/PA Images

Billy Joe Saunders will switch to super-middleweight - but only if a showdown with the winner of Gennady Golovkin and Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez fails to materialise.

That is the prize Hatfield’s WBO middleweight world champion hopes is on offer if he is successful in his second defence against Willie Monroe Jr on Saturday night at London’s Copper Box Arena.

Saunders revealed he will definitely make the step up in weight at some point in his career.

But that will only happen if the 28-year-old, who has already seen potential bouts with the middleweight division’s two biggest stars fall through in the last 12 months, once he has achieved all he can at middleweight.

And that means Golovkin or Canelo who meet in Las Vegas a few hours after Saunders takes on American Monroe Jr.

Saunders, who hasn’t boxed since December, said: “I signed to fight Golovkin and Canelo, but none of them have come off.

“If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.

“The inactivity has been stressful, but you crack on and deal with it.

“My last opponent, Avtandil Khurtsidze got arrested and the fight was cancelled. You just have to deal with it.”

If Saunders did make the move to 168lb he would be relying on his skills to outsmart naturally bigger men.

But that is not something that looms menacingly over the Hatfield fight ace.

He said: “I am a big middleweight and don’t want to give my advantage away, but there is not a super-middleweight that I fear.

“I have sparred with most of the top super-middleweights and they will tell you I did well.

“Callum Smith is the only top British one I haven’t worked with.

“I will go to that weight, but when I have done my work at middleweight.”

Saturday’s card at the Copper Box features a number of the country’s most up and coming prospects.

Light-Heavyweight Anthony Yarde goes for the WBO intercontinental and European belts while teenage heavyweight sensation Daniel Dubois takes on AJ Carter for the vacant Southern Area strap in only his fifth contest and Joe Pigford fights for the vacant WBO European super-welterweight title.

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