“I’ll beat Andy Lee and defend the belt against Gennady Golovkin within 18 months” says Billy Joe Saunders ahead of WBO World Middleweight title showdown

PUBLISHED: 15:40 30 October 2015 | UPDATED: 15:40 30 October 2015

Billy Joe Saunders and Frank Warren at the press conference

Billy Joe Saunders and Frank Warren at the press conference


Billy Joe Saunders has had enough time to talk prior to his twice re-arranged WBO World Middleweight title clash with Andy Lee at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, December 19.

But now he is predicting he will walk right into a defence against unbeaten hitman Gennady Golovkin, the current unified WBA, IBF, WBC and IBO middleweight champion, within 18 months once he’s dealt with Lee in the north-west.

The fight, first due to take place back on September 19 in Lee’s hometown of Limerick, has twice been postponed due to firstly, the Irishman suffering from a virus, and then Saunders sustaining a cut above his right eye in training, but now the Hatfield fighter says he’s back in the gym and ready to make strides on the world stage.

Speaking at last Thursday’s pre-match press conference in Marylebone, London, Saunders told the WHT: “I’m feeling good. I just want to get in there on the night now.

“I’ve been back in training three weeks, haven’t had much sparring and I’m taking care of the eye because I want this fight to happen. It will lead to other things.

“We’ve both said it will be a hard fight many times which it will but beyond that, I’m man enough to say I’m 18 months away from the Golovkin fight once I win this belt from Andy [Lee]. It’s all there for me.”

With 52 days and counting until what the pair, and promoter Frank Warren, have described as a “throwback to past great fights”, unbeaten Saunders, boasting a record of 22 wins, 12 knockouts, believes “craftiness” and not power, in particular the powerful counter-attacking right hook of Lee, will be the deciding factor on the night.

He continued: “Take punching power out of it, I would say that craftiness will ultimately win this.

“You’ve just said about his right hook then but I’ve been in with big punchers before. Spike O’Sullivan is one of the biggest one-punch fighters around.

“If I get hit and knocked down, I’ll get back up definitely. I won’t go into the gameplan now but I’ve got ideas to neutralise Andy and his arsenal.”

n Tickets priced at £40, £50, £75, £100, £200 and £300 are now on sale from www.frankwarren.com, TicketMaster - 0844 844 0444 or www.ticketmaster.co.uk - or Eventim - 0844 249 1000 or www.eventim.co.uk

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