World title is on the line but Billy Joe Saunders knows he still has to get the job done
PUBLISHED: 14:48 14 May 2019
Hatfield's Billy Joe Saunders will fight for the full world title in his homecoming fight in Stevenage.
The bout at the Lamex Stadium on Saturday night was scheduled to be for the interim WBO super-middleweight title but following the decision of champion Gilberto Ramirez to step up to light-heavyweight, a move which forced him to relinquish the belt, Saunders and Shefat Isufi will now face-off for the full crown.
And the former middleweight champion says being a world champion at two weights has a nice ring to it.
He said: "I was always assured by Frank Warren and MTK that the fight would be for the full version of the world title.
"They told me not to get impatient when it was just the interim title. That is what I've done and it has happened to work out for the best.
"Being called a two-weight world champion sounds nice and it is good for the history books.
"Boxing is a business, but to be a two-weight world champion is something you dream of growing up and here is my chance to achieve it.
"It is the icing on the cake and I have got to deliver. It's no good fighting for it. I've got to win it."
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The 29-year-old has spent nine weeks in Manchester training for the big fight which takes place just 12 miles from his Hatfield home.
He added: "A lot of people are expecting me to win so there is a bit of pressure on, but it is pressure I can deal with.
"I will sit down with my team, have a discussion with my management and assess my options when I've got the win against Isufi.
"The main thing is getting that win because the conversation is different if I don't win."
The vacant WBO super-middleweight title clash between Saunders and Isufi headlines the bill at Stevenage Football Club, one of the biggest nights of boxing ever held in Hertfordshire.
Unbeaten heavyweight Joe Joyce provides the chief support when he faces former world title challenger Alexander Ustinov.
And there will be other belts up for grabs on the night too.
British super-bantamweight champion Brad Foster faces Commonwealth title holder, Ashley Lane with both belts on the line while Chingford prospect Boy Jones Jr fights for the vacant WBO Youth title.
Tickets can be purchased via borotickets.co.uk