Martin Murray up next as Billy Joe Saunders’ wait for Golovkin goes on

PUBLISHED: 10:57 22 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:00 22 January 2018

Hatfield's Billy Joe Saunders. Picture: NATALIE MAYHEW/BUTTERFLY BOXING

Hatfield's Billy Joe Saunders. Picture: NATALIE MAYHEW/BUTTERFLY BOXING

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Billy Joe Saunders will have to wait for his dream match-up with either Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez after Martin Murray was unveiled as his next title defence.

The Hatfield WBO world middleweight champion has made no secret of his desire for the unification buot with Golovkin but his hopes have been continually dashed, the latest issue being the tied contest between the Kazakh champion and Canelo back in September forcing a highly anticipated rematch.

So instead Saunders’ third defence will be against domestic rival Murray on Saturday, April 14 at a venue yet to be announced.

The 27-year-old will go into the fight fresh from a 12-round masterclass against David Lemieux in the Canadian’s home town in December.

That night in Montreal was arguably the best performance of his career and has seen his stock across the world rise rapidly ahead of what promises to be the biggest year of his career.

Saunders said: “Martin Murray is a good fighter and I have got the greatest of respect for him. But he’s in the way of what I’m aiming for this year and that is to become undisputed middleweight world champion.

“He’s coming to try and win my world title and I’m sure it’s going to be a good fight.”

Murray, who many felt did enough to become a world champion against both Sergio Martinez and Felix Sturm only to be undone by the judges’ scorecards, is himself coming off a big win against Gabriel Rosado and will be out looking to scupper Saunders’ plans.

The St Helens’ man said: “I rate Billy Joe as a fighter, he’s one of slickest out there and he is coming off of a great win and will be very confident.

“But I’m very confident, this is my time to become world champion, as it’s the only thing I have left to do.

“I’ve fought everyone and in my opinion at middleweight I have only one genuine loss which is against Gennady Golovkin who is the best out there.

“I don’t count Martinez or Sturm as genuine losses because of the scorecards. But this time around, in my first world title fight at home, as we are both British fighters fighting on home soil, I know the best man on the night will get the win and leave the arena as champion.”

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