Hatfield boxer Billy Joe teams up with Jimmy Tibbs

PUBLISHED: 17:29 04 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:05 26 October 2009

Billy Joe Saunders, second right, has joined forces with legendary trainer Jimmy Tibbs

Billy Joe Saunders, second right, has joined forces with legendary trainer Jimmy Tibbs

HATFIELD Olympian Billy Joe Saunders has teamed up with renowned trainer Jimmy Tibbs ahead of his professional debut on February 28. The 19-year-old was initially working with amateur trainer Danny Hoy, but because of personal commitments he decided to st

HATFIELD Olympian Billy Joe Saunders has teamed up with renowned trainer Jimmy Tibbs ahead of his professional debut on February 28.

The 19-year-old was initially working with amateur trainer Danny Hoy, but because of personal commitments he decided to step aside.

Instead Tibbs will now take over the reins - and Saunders couldn't be in better hands.

That's because the East End trainer's resume is like a who's who of British boxing with names that include former WBC world super-middleweight champion Nigel Benn, Chris Pyatt, ex-WBO world middleweight champion and Charlie Magri, former WBC world flyweight champion.

The respected trainer has also worked with once undisputed world welterweight champion Lloyd Honeyghan, Frank Bruno, the former WBC world heavyweight champion, ex-WBA world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan and Alex Arthur, former WBO world super-featherweight champion.

"To go to the Olympics at the age of just 19 was an incredible achievement," said Tibbs.

"In just two weeks or so working with me Billy Joe has picked up so much.

"He is as good as any of the fighters I have trained, he really is one hot prospect.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to work with him and he has got as good a chance to make it to the top as anyone I've worked with.

"Billy has also got a great promoter in Frank Warren, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he became a world champion like some of the other fighters I've worked with."

Saunders, who will make his professional debut at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham at the end of the month will now be based at the world famous Peacock Gym, and will also spend time at the TKO in Canning Town.

"Jimmy is a fantastic trainer and he's taught me a lot already," said Saunders.

"Danny did a fantastic job for me and I'm sorry to see him go, but I've got the ideal replacement in Jimmy.

"He's worked with the biggest names in British boxing over the last 30 years and if anyone can get me to the top it's Jimmy.

"I'm just knuckling down into some really hard training now and looking forward to entering the professional ranks on February 28."

Saunders will be joined at the NIA by fellow 2008 Olympians James DeGale and Frankie Gavin on a card topped by Matt Skelton's Commonwealth heavyweight title fight against Martin Rogan.

Tickets are priced at £30, £50, £100 and £150, and are available from Ticket Factory, 0844 338 8000, See Tickets on 0871 220 0260, Ticket Master on 0844 847 2500 and Ticketline on 0871 888 9991.

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