Billy Joe Saunders overcame an underwhelming start to retain his WBO World Middleweight Title with a unanimous decision over the game Artur Akavov.
The scorecards read 116-113, 116-112 and 115-113 but Saunders himself admitted that he wasn't as sharp as normal after a lengthy period outside of the ring.
After the fight Billy Joe invited a young cancer survivor into the ring with him:
Elsewhere on the card, Jack Catterall defended his WBO Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Title over 10 rounds, and Paul Butler earned another points victory at Bantamweight.
Undefeated WBO World Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders (23-0 12 KOs) will make the first defence of his title against Russia’s Artur Akavov (16-1 7 KOs) on Frank Warren’s show at the Paisley Lagoon Centre on December 3 in Glasgow, live and exclusive on BoxNation.
Last December, Saunders defeated Irish hero Andy Lee to take his WBO crown in a close and absorbing fight in Manchester that saw the Hatfield star floor the former champion twice in the third round and go on to claim a majority decision from the judges.
The skillful, hard-hitting, Saunders knows it is vital that he beats Akavov if he is to remain on track for potential blockbuster showdowns with Mexican pound-for-pound star Canelo Alvarez and 160lbs division monster Gennady Golovkin.
Akavov, 28, holds the WBO European Middleweight title and is currently enjoying a red-hot eleven-fight winning streak stretching back to 2012. The 5’9 southpaw known as ‘Wolverine’ made his professional debut against Andrey Korzhenevsky back in 2011 and has never been halted in 17 contests. Now residing in Brooklyn, New York, Akavov has vowed to win Saunders’ world title for his family and country.
Saunders, 27, knows he is in for a risky first title defence against a dangerous and live challenger, but says being World Champion means he has the skills and determination to overcome any challenge.
“Nothing comes easy in boxing and I’m definitely not taking Akavov for granted,” said Saunders. He’s a strong fighter and very dangerous and if I don’t come in 100 percent then he could cause an upset in my first title defence. I’m going to make sure I’m in the shape of my life and give Akavov the toughest night he’s ever had, he’s never been stopped before so this is going to be a first for him!”
On air @ 7pm
The WBO Super-Lightweight Intercontinental Title
WBO Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Champion Jack Catterall is chief support to Saunders' World Title defence. The 16-0 prospect fights Diego Gonzalo Luque (20-3-1, 13 KOs).
This will be the first time Luque has fought outside of his native Argentina and Catterall will be hoping a win will see him progress onto World level in 2017
On air @ 7pm
Continuing his comeback at 118lbs, 'The Baby Faced Assassin' fights Alexander Cazares (13-7) over 10 rounds. The game Mexican has never been stopped in his seven defeats.
Last time out in Bolton, Butler outclassed another Mexican Alexis Ruiz. A similar performance here will ensure the Ellesmere Port star can get back amongst the World Title mix, with an all-British clash with Jamie McDonnell his top target.
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