Saunders close to Beijing berth

PUBLISHED: 15:41 28 February 2008 | UPDATED: 22:15 26 October 2009

Billy Joe Saunders at the Hoddesdon club

Billy Joe Saunders at the Hoddesdon club

HATFIELD amateur boxer Billy Joe Saunders is just one fight away from qualifying from this summer s Olympic Games. The 18-year-old welterweight battered Georgia s Kakhaber Zhvania 15-5 in the penultimate qualifying round in Pescara, Italy, on Wednesday.

Billy Joe Saunders

HATFIELD amateur boxer Billy Joe Saunders is just one fight away from qualifying from this summer's Olympic Games.

The 18-year-old welterweight battered Georgia's Kakhaber Zhvania 15-5 in the penultimate qualifying round in Pescara, Italy, on Wednesday.

Saunders, who lives on a traveller's site on the outskirts of Hatfield, will be aiming for his 30th straight victory tomorrow (Friday) when he takes on Ukrainian fighter Olexandr Stretskyy in the semis with the winner going to Beijing in August.

The Hoddesdon Boxing Academy star needs to finish in the top three of the qualifier to secure his Olympic place alongside four other British boxers who have already booked their place in China.

Saunders beat Russia's former European amateur champion Andrey Balanov 18-13 earlier in the week in the Olympic qualifying event in Italy.

He then scored a tense 13-12 victory over awkward Pole Michal Starbala.

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