“Win or I retire” says Billy Joe Saunders at Monday’s press conference before weekend’s title clash with Chris Eubank Jnr at the Excel Arena.
PUBLISHED: 16:07 25 November 2014
The verbal sparring may not have been up there with the likes of Muhammad Ali, but the animosity was clear for all to see in the suite at the Grosvenor Hotel, Park Lane on Monday.
While Hatfield’s Billy Joe Saunders, reigning British, European and Commonwealth middleweight champion, talked of retirement should he suffer a defeat to Saturday’s opposition Chris Eubank Jnr, the challenger wildly claimed he was “willing to die in the ring” just to avoid losing outright.
With the pair both boasting unbeaten records and promising to bring war to one another, something has to give.
No wonder event promoter Frank Warren is calling Saturday’s Bad Blood show, featuring Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora as the main attraction, “the best British fightcard for many years.”
Saunders told the WHT: “As I said before, if I lose on Saturday I will not return to the ring. That is how confident I am.
“My lawyer was in the room and as you saw, I was happy to put on a £100,000 wager with Eubank Jnr. for charity if we could sort it out.
“[Eubank] won’t make decisions without his dad though. The guy is run by him. You have seen that leading up to the fight and despite him showing up without Eubank Senior or his trainer, I bet his dad is in the car park waiting for him. He does not do things for himself.
“At the weekend, it will be just me and him in the ring. No-one will be able to help him then and we will see how much of a man he really is.”
Despite Saunders’ obvious lack of respect for Eubank Jnr, the Brighton boxer has a marginally better knockout record of 72 per cent over his 18 fights although against so-called weaker opponents and he believes Saunders will be his next victim.
Eubank said: “I know I can’t let the occasion, fans, atmosphere or anything else get to my head.
“I have to be as focussed as I have been in all my other fights.
“I’m emotionless in the ring. Unlike “Average” Joe, I punch to kill my opponent’s soul. I punch with venom and to knock everyone out.
“Saunders has talked a lot in the lead-up to this fight while I have kept away from that. This is the time for talking and Saturday will be the time for fighting.”
Saunders’ trainer, Jimmy Tibbs is in no doubt his man will get the job done on the night but had some kind words to say of the Eubanks.
Tibbs said: “Chris is a good, young man and a great little fighter. I see a lot of his dad in him but Billy Joe will have too much for him.
“The training has gone well down in Spain and I know Billy Joe will come out the stronger of the two.
“I am slightly taken aback with him saying about retirement. It is not something we have discussed behind the scenes and I think he may have to rethink that.”
n For fight updates follow @whtimes and @hemosportsed on Twitter on Saturday and see www.whtimes24.co.uk, and next week’s WHT, for the fight report, reaction and photos.
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