Tough Olympic draw for Hatfield fighter Billy Joe Saunders

PUBLISHED: 19:01 08 August 2008 | UPDATED: 22:06 26 October 2009

Billy Joe Saunders in action

Billy Joe Saunders in action

TEENAGE Hatfield boxer Billy Joe Saunders has been handed an extremely tough draw at the Beijing Olympics. The 18-year-old Herts hitman will take on Turkey s Adem Kilicci on Sunday (August 10) in the first round of the welterweight division at the Workers

TEENAGE Hatfield boxer Billy Joe Saunders has been handed an extremely tough draw at the Beijing Olympics.

The 18-year-old Herts hitman will take on Turkey's Adem Kilicci on Sunday (August 10) in the first round of the welterweight division at the Workers' Gymnasium.

Kilicci was a bronze medallist at the 2007 World Championships in Chicago, USA.

Things don't get any easier for Saunders if successful against the highly-rated 22-year-old Turk, with a clutch of world-class fighters lurking in his side of the draw.

Waiting in the last 16 is Cuban Carlos Banteaux Suarez, winner of the 2008 Pan American Championship in Ecuador a few months ago.

If the Hoddesdon Boxing Academy product wins his opening two bouts, his likely opponent in the quarter-finals will be Non Boonjumnong.

The Thai boxer was the beaten finalist in the AIBA World Championships in America last year.

In Chicago he beat Russia's former European champion Andrey Balanov en route to the final. Saunders has also beaten Balanov.

Boonjumnong then lost due to an injury in the second round against explosive American southpaw Demetrius Andrade.

Non Boonjumnong's brother Manus won Olympic gold at light welterweight in the 2004 Athens Games.

Saunders, who lives on a travellers' site between Hatfield and Hertford, is the youngest boxer in the British team.

But Team GB boxing head said Terry Edwards insists: "If my boxers box to their potential they can make an impact."

James DeGale will be the only Team GB boxer to fight on the opening day of the Beijing Olympic Games.

DeGale takes on Egypt's 2007 African champion Mohamed Hikal tomorrow (Saturday) in the opening round of the middleweight competition.

Meanwhile, Frankie Gavin, who withdrew from the competition yesterday after failing to make the weight for his lightweight class, telephoned the GB camp to wish the boxers the very best of luck for the Games.

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