Saunders returns to the ring as 'heartbroken' Tom Little frustrated by early stoppage

PUBLISHED: 18:33 23 December 2018 | UPDATED: 18:33 23 December 2018

Hatfield's Tom Little took on Liverpool's David Price on the undercard of Dillian Whyte v Derek Chisora at the O2 in London. Picture: Natalie Mayhew/Butterfly Boxing

Hatfield's Tom Little took on Liverpool's David Price on the undercard of Dillian Whyte v Derek Chisora at the O2 in London. Picture: Natalie Mayhew/Butterfly Boxing

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It was a busy Saturday for Hatfield's professional boxers - as both Billy Joe Saunders and Tom Little swerved the last-minute Christmas shoppers to do battle on two of the biggest British cards of the year.

Hatfield's Tom Little took on Liverpool's David Price on the undercard of Dillian Whyte v Derek Chisora at the O2 in London. Picture: Natalie Mayhew/Butterfly BoxingHatfield's Tom Little took on Liverpool's David Price on the undercard of Dillian Whyte v Derek Chisora at the O2 in London. Picture: Natalie Mayhew/Butterfly Boxing

Saunders was up against Charles Adamu on the undercard of Josh Warrington’s successful IBF world featherweight defence against Carl Frampton in Manchester while London was calling for heavyweight Little as he took on Liverpudlian David Price on the Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora bill at the O2.

For Saunders it was a first return to the ring since relinquishing his WBO world middleweight title in October after being refused a licence to fight Demetrius Andrade in Boston by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission.

Hatfield's Tom Little took on Liverpool's David Price on the undercard of Dillian Whyte v Derek Chisora at the O2 in London. Picture: Natalie Mayhew/Butterfly BoxingHatfield's Tom Little took on Liverpool's David Price on the undercard of Dillian Whyte v Derek Chisora at the O2 in London. Picture: Natalie Mayhew/Butterfly Boxing

And it was an extremely low-key return, with the 29-year-old making his ring walk not long after 5pm and before the BT Sport Box Office TV cameras had started rolling.

It was also as straight forward as expected for the Hatfield middleweight against the 41-year-old journeyman from Ghana.

David Price (right) and Tom Little during the Heavyweight contest at the O2 Arena, London. Picture: Steven Paston/PADavid Price (right) and Tom Little during the Heavyweight contest at the O2 Arena, London. Picture: Steven Paston/PA

Saunders didn’t even have enough time to throw off any ring rust with the bout ending after four rounds when Adamu failed to come out of his corner, giving the contest to the former champion via a referee’s technical decision.

He still feels robbed of his title and while this bout saw him weigh in as super-middleweight, it will be regaining gold at the lower weight that will be at the top of his agenda for 2019.

Referee stops the the fight between Tom Little and David Price for the Heavyweight contest at the O2 Arena, London. Picture: Steven Paston/PAReferee stops the the fight between Tom Little and David Price for the Heavyweight contest at the O2 Arena, London. Picture: Steven Paston/PA

Little’s bout with friend and former sparring partner Price left the Hatfield man hugely frustrated.

He had been hit by a series of shots in the fourth round but when the referee jumped in, Little was heard to shout “no, no, no” in despair.

Referee stops the the fight between Tom Little and David Price for the Heavyweight contest at the O2 Arena, London. Picture: Steven Paston/PAReferee stops the the fight between Tom Little and David Price for the Heavyweight contest at the O2 Arena, London. Picture: Steven Paston/PA

Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, he said: “It’s a big fight and people come out here to watch blood and guts and pay good money on pay-per-view to watch, not just me but other good fights.

“Nothing against David but in a fight like this here, if I have to go down to get back up then let me have that opportunity.

David Price (left) and Tom Little during the Heavyweight contest at the O2 Arena, London. Picture: Steven Paston/PADavid Price (left) and Tom Little during the Heavyweight contest at the O2 Arena, London. Picture: Steven Paston/PA

“The referee has only got a split-second with our lives in his hands but at least give me the chance.

“I’ve worked hard as David has and I feel like I’ve had it ripped out of my hands a bit early.

David Price (left) and Tom Little during the Heavyweight contest at the O2 Arena, London. Picture: Steven Paston/PADavid Price (left) and Tom Little during the Heavyweight contest at the O2 Arena, London. Picture: Steven Paston/PA

“I was hurt, I’m an honest man and I was hurt.

“I was going back with my hands up and he was on to my like a predator, that’s what he does.

Billy Joe Saunders (left) and Charles Adamu face off during the weigh in at Manchester Central. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PABilly Joe Saunders (left) and Charles Adamu face off during the weigh in at Manchester Central. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

“It’s one of those things but honestly, I’m heartbroken.

“I would love nothing more than to do it again but this man is my friend and if he can go forward and have a big payday, then he should have it.

Billy Joe Saunders (left) and Charles Adamu face off during the weigh in at Manchester Central. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PABilly Joe Saunders (left) and Charles Adamu face off during the weigh in at Manchester Central. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

“I’ll come again and fight someone else.”

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