Billy Joe Saunders defends his WBO Middleweight Championship against Martin Murray in an all-British World Title showdown on June 23rd at The O2 in London.
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.
The action-packed undercard features undefeated KO artists Anthony Yarde and Daniel Dubois, plus Ohara Davies makes his BoxNation debut and Darryll Williams defends his English Title.