Billy Joe Saunders is officially fighting outside the UK as professional for the first time on December 16th. He’ll put his WBO World middleweight title on the line against the hard-hitting David Lemieux.

The champion defended his title successfully in September against mandatory challenger Willie Monroe Jr and won via points after a long lay off. The challenger Lemieux has won four straight after his defeat to the middleweight king, Gennady Golovkin.

‘Triple G’ famously put a merciless beating on Lemieux back in 2015. Saunders wants a proper challenge and not ‘just the dog meat that Golovkin left behind’.

“Lemieux looks good against ‘B level’ fighters, but he is now getting in the ring with someone who is far more superior and slick than anyone he has ever been in with. I don’t just want the dog meat that Golovkin has left behind, I want the dog himself and when I come through this fight I will have him,” said Saunders according to a press release.

As mentioned before, Saunders will defend his title for the first time overseas in Montreal, Canada.

“He is a mandatory and we’ve agreed a deal to go over to foreign soil and get it on. I have a lot of friends in Canada, and I’ll be bringing a lot of supporters over to Canada from the UK. It has all the makings of a good fight. I’m expecting a good, clean, fair decision,” told Saunders.

Should Saunders get past his mandatory challenger, he plans to fight the winner of Canelo-Golovkin II which is rumoured to take place in May 2018.

“Once I beat Lemieux I’ll be moving onto bigger fish; the winner of the rematch between Canelo and Golovkin. I’m looking forward to a great fight.”

Lemieux also sent some strong fighting words to Saunders.

“It’s time to be world champion again. Saunders is about to get destroyed. I’m going to be extremely ready for this fight and I’m going to inflict a lot of pain on Saunders. His 0 must go,” said Lemieux.

According to multiple reports, there are currently two venues bidding to host the event – The Place Bell or The Bell Centre.

“Billy Joe Saunders is going into the lions’ den as he believes he has the beating of David Lemieux. It’s a great opportunity for Billy Joe to defend his WBO World Title against a big-name opponent and headline his first bill on HBO at American primetime.

He is looking forward to making a statement to the American audience to ensure he secures a fight with the winner of the Canelo vs. Golovkin rematch, for the Undisputed Middleweight World Championship. Billy Joe is out to prove he is the best Middleweight in the world. He has been continually avoided and if it means he has to go to Canada to ensure he can no longer be overlooked, then that is what he is prepared to do!” commented promoter Frank Warren.