GB boxer Billy Joe takes Poland by storm

PUBLISHED: 14:15 19 June 2008 | UPDATED: 22:05 26 October 2009

Billy Joe Saunders on his way to beating Spaniard Hilario in Poland

Billy Joe Saunders on his way to beating Spaniard Hilario in Poland

HATFIELD hitter Billy Joe Saunders is taking Poland by storm after two comfortable victories in the European Union Amateur Boxing Championships. The 18-year-old, who has qualified for the Beijing Olympics boxing tournament, has been in scintillating form

Billy Joe Saunders

HATFIELD hitter Billy Joe Saunders is taking Poland by storm after two comfortable victories in the European Union Amateur Boxing Championships.

The 18-year-old, who has qualified for the Beijing Olympics boxing tournament, has been in scintillating form in the opening rounds with two stoppages in his first two bouts at the event held in Cetniewo.

His Hoddesdon Boxing Academy coach Danny Hoy is understandably delighted with his fighter's progress.

He said: "Before Billy Joe went out, we had him working on improving his power, and we can now see that is paying off.

"Having just spoken to him, I think he has been surprised with his own power.

"He has always been strong, but now we are seeing that he can drop his opponents with a single shot."

Saunders, the youngest member of the GB Olympic boxing team, was up against Tamas Sipos from Hungary in the first round in Poland.

Billy Joe took charge from the opening bell, forcing the Hungarian to take a count from a right hook to the body and a left cross to the head.

The Hungarian tried to move away, but Billy Joe cut the space and a one-two to the head forced the referee to take another count.

The Hungarian coach then retired the boxer, saving him from further punishment.

Saunders continued his success from the previous night in the second round of the competition by beating Spaniard Mariano Hilario inside the distance.

Billy Joe was in devastating form, forcing two standing counts in the second round.

He continued to display his superior boxing skills and power.

Despite his young age, he outclassed the Spaniard and forced a stoppage in the third round, with the score at 20-0.

He now faces experienced Frenchman Xavier Noel in today's (Thursday) semi-final in what coach Hoy believes will present a different test.

"I am expecting a tougher fight against Noel and I don't think he will dominate as much as he has done so far," he said.

"Billy Joe is buzzing at the moment, and his confidence is really high.

"I don't think he gets phased or worried about his opponents.

"But this fight will be a tough test and he will have to adapt.

"It will be a real test of strength for Billy Joe as his opponent is long in the tooth and will have faced similar fighters before."

Welterweight Saunders, who lives on a travellers' camp on the outskirts of Hatfield, has tasted huge success at European amateur competitions.

He secured gold in the Tammer tournament in Finland in 2007 and gold in the Strandja tournament in Bulgaria in February.

Saunders also won bronze earlier this year in the AIBA European Qualifier in Pescara, Italy, which ultimately secured his Olympic qualification.

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