Saunders vs Murray

Billy Joe Saunders Martin Murray

Saunders Murray

The O2, London

On air @ TBC

14

Apr

The WBO World Middleweight Title

Billy Joe Saunders defends his WBO Middleweight Championship against Martin Murray in an all-British World Title showdown on April 14th, with Terry Flanagan v Maurice Hooker also on the card for the WBO World Super-Lightweight crown.

Unbeaten Hatfield hero Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) is aiming for a fourth successive defence of the belt he won against Andy Lee back in December 2015, when he dropped the Irishman twice on route to a points victory.

In the summer of 2017, Saunders hired Dominic Ingle as his new trainer in the lead-up to his fight against Willie Monroe Jr. The move quickly paid dividends, with Saunders getting into tremendous shape for the September date as he outclassed his American foe at the Copper Box Arena.

Last December the southpaw travelled to Canada to take on hard-hitting former titlist David Lemieux, resulting in a career-best performance for the Englishman. Saunders put on a boxing masterclass in Montreal, while Lemieux quickly ran out of ideas and lost a clear decision in front of his subdued home crowd. Televised live on HBO in America, the fight was viewed as Saunders’ biggest test and he passed with flying colours.

Murray (36-4-1, 17 KOs) is the final hurdle for Saunders in obtaining a complete domestic whitewash of British and Irish Middleweights that already includes Lee, Chris Eubank Jr, Spike O’Sullivan, John Ryder and Nick Blackwell.

At Middleweight, the St Helens man has challenged three World Champions and many considered him to be unlucky in his first two efforts; the 2011 draw with Felix Sturm and the decision loss to Sergio Martinez in 2013, both on away soil.

In February 2015, Murray took on feared Kazakh Gennady Golovkin. Despite suffering two early knockdowns, the brave Merseysider proved his toughness and became the first man to take ‘Triple G’ past 10 rounds. After another knockdown in the 11th session the referee stopped the contest.

Murray admits his fifth shot at world glory is likely to be his last chance, while Saunders is chasing down a four-weight unification with Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez later this year.

Flanagan vs Hooker

Terry Flanagan Maurice Hooker

Flanagan Hooker

On air @ TBC

The WBO World Super-Lightweight Title

Terry Flanagan (33-0, 13 KOs) attempts to win a World Title at a second weight division against Maurice Hooker in what should be an exciting spectacle for fans.

‘Turbo’ first burst onto the world scene back in July 2015 where he faced then-unbeaten Jose Zepeda for the vacant WBO Lightweight Title. Flanagan won the belt after his opponent suffered a shoulder injury in the second round.

Determined to prove himself after the frustrating circumstances of that win, the 28-year-old faced Diego Magdaleno next. He wasted no time taking it to the American, knocking his man down three times and claiming an emphatic T.K.O victory.

Since then, the Mancunian has defended the belt against Derry Matthews, former World Champion Mzonke Fana, Orlando Cruz and Petr Petrov. When the opportunity to win another World Title at 140 pounds arose, he wasted no time in moving up, admitting that he felt tight at the weight in his last few outings.

Maurice Hooker is a rangy Super-Lightweight with an unbeaten record of 23-0-3 (16 KOs). Standing at 5ft 11, the tall Texan will present a different challenge to Flanagan.

‘Mighty Mo’ faced former World Champion Cristobal Cruz in February of last year, a fight in which he employed fantastic distance and boxing skills to win a wide unanimous decision.

Next up was 18-0 Courtney Jackson, in another display of technical ability, Hooker managed to win every round on two of the judges’ scorecards to set up the World Title bout with Flanagan.

After Terence Crawford’s move up to Welterweight, the division is wide open and Flanagan has the chance to achieve his dream of becoming a two-weight World Champion on April 14th and secure his place as one of the World’s best at Super-Lightweight.