Billy Joe Saunders has wasted no time in starting the war of words with Willie Monroe Jr ahead of their September 16th showdown, branding the American as a quitter.

The pair square off at the Copper Box Arena this autumn, with Saunders’ WBO World Middleweight Title on the line on the same night that Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin meet in Las Vegas.

Speaking at Monday’s press conference to formally announce the fight, Saunders admitted Monroe is a worthy challenger.

“This is his big chance and he isn't coming over here just to make up the numbers. He has been in with some of the best fighters in the World including Golovkin, where he came up short.”

In May 2015, Monroe challenged the Kazakh KO King, but Golovkin was at his frightening best in California, landing a combination of bodyshots, uppercuts and powerful hooks. The American was sent to the canvas twice in the second and again in the sixth before telling the referee he was done.

“I think it is going to be a very close fight but I already have the mental edge over him,” explained Saunders. “He said he was done against Golovkin and that's not what a warrior would do. I'd rather get knocked out cold than quit!”

Saunders had an injury-plagued 2016 and laboured to a points win over game Russian Artur Akavov in December. The southpaw was due to face Avtandil Khurtsidze this month but the Georgian was arrested.

After teaming up with respected Sheffield-based trainer Dominic Ingle, Billy Joe believes he will be back to his best as he aims to secure a huge unification fight against Canelo or ‘Triple G’.

“I haven't had the chance to show my true skill and talent as of yet as a pro. I can't afford to overlook him and I'll be in the best shape of my life on September 16th. I'm 100% going to get the win,” he added.

Watch Billy Joe Saunders v Willie Monroe Jr live at the Copper Box, where Anthony Yarde and Daniel Dubois also appear on the bill.