Billy Joe Saunders insists his new Sheffield base is the launchpad to becoming the world’s top middleweight.

The Hatfield traveller made the shock switch to trainer Dominic Ingle last month and is training at the steel city’s famous Wincobank gym that produced greats like Naseem Hamed and Herol Graham.

Saunders defends his WBO middleweight title against fellow southpaw Willie Monroe Jr at London’s Copper Box Arena on September 16.

Saunders, 27, was trained by Jimmy Tibbs for 23 of his 24 fights and defeated Andy Lee to become world champion in their final fight together in December 2015.

Close friend Ben Davison prepared him for last December’s lacklustre win against Artur Akavov, but experienced Ingle has now taken over after a call from promoter Frank Warren asking if he fancied the role.

Saunders admits he must be away from distractions ahead of fights and is sharing a house with Kid Galahad.

“A change is as good as a rest,” said Saunders. “Jimmy was a very good coach with great knowledge and it was no fault of his that I left. I needed a change to perk myself up.

“I did some training with Adam Booth, but I needed to be away from my way of life back home and I decided to set up in Sheffield.

“I have only been there three weeks and I love it. It’s like a new lease of life.”

If unbeaten Saunders beats Monroe he will be in line to face the winner of the unification 160lb showdown between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin who meet a few hours later in Las Vegas.

He added: “I’m at the top now and I cannot let anything slip. No stone will be left unturned, but Dominic won’t allow that.”

Tickets are available now for Billy Joe Saunders' next World Title defence in London.