Billy Joe Saunders gets the job done on USA debut but admits he wasn’t at his best

PUBLISHED: 16:22 11 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:23 11 November 2019

Billy Joe Saunders won by TKO against Marcelo Esteban Coceres. Picture: ED MULHOLLAND/MATCHROOM BOXING USA

Billy Joe Saunders won by TKO against Marcelo Esteban Coceres. Picture: ED MULHOLLAND/MATCHROOM BOXING USA

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

Billy Joe Saunders’ admitted the manner of his debut victory in the USA won’t have his big name rivals lining up to get in the ring with him.

Billy Joe Saunders won by TKO against Marcelo Esteban Coceres. Picture: ED MULHOLLAND/MATCHROOM BOXING USABilly Joe Saunders won by TKO against Marcelo Esteban Coceres. Picture: ED MULHOLLAND/MATCHROOM BOXING USA

The 30-year-old from Hatfield retained his WBO super-middleweight world title after a technical knock-out in the 11th round against Marcelo Esteban Coceres in Los Angeles.

Saunders' wanted to use the occasion to increase his stock in the US and bring the long hoped for big-money fights.

But the crowd waiting for KSI's rematch with Logan Paul were not impressed with the slow pace and the fight was greeted with silence and occasional booing.

Fortunately Saunders was able to drop his Argentinian opponent three times in the 11th to claim the win but he knows he needs to do much better.

Billy Joe Saunders won by TKO against Marcelo Esteban Coceres. Picture: ED MULHOLLAND/MATCHROOM BOXING USABilly Joe Saunders won by TKO against Marcelo Esteban Coceres. Picture: ED MULHOLLAND/MATCHROOM BOXING USA

He said: "There's no excuse, that performance was not worthy of Canelo or any of the other big names.

"I knew by round nine that I had to get him out of here. My timing wasn't right, my head wasn't right, nothing was right.

"I'm not one for excuses. I needed to let him gas out then attack.

"I've got the win and I've got to thank the American fans and I hope they tune in again because that wasn't the best of me."

Billy Joe Saunders won by TKO against Marcelo Esteban Coceres. Picture: ED MULHOLLAND/MATCHROOM BOXING USABilly Joe Saunders won by TKO against Marcelo Esteban Coceres. Picture: ED MULHOLLAND/MATCHROOM BOXING USA

WBO world middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade was clearly unimpressed, tweeting "Billy Joe Saunders looks great tonight", before adding three crying with laughter emojis.

Saunders has long hoped for Saul Canelo or Gennady Golovkin and said he will fight at either super-middleweight or middleweight.


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