Former, WBO middleweight and super-middleweight champion, Billy Joe Saunders, has been away from the ring for over two years now after suffering the first defeat of his career. However, he has an opponent in mind for his return.
Saunders was stopped by the now undisputed 168lbs champion, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, in the eighth round of their bout in Texas in May 2021.
Whilst the contest was competitive throughout, the Mexican began to gain the advantage around the mid-point of the fight and piled on the pressure to score a perfect uppercut that broke the Brit’s orbital bone.
As a result, Saunders didn’t make it out of the corner for the next round and has now had a lengthy period of inactivity, giving himself time to heal, but admittedly gaining weight in the process.
The 33-year-old is determined to lose those extra pounds to step back through the ropes, and doubled down on his call-out of one of Matchroom’s latest signings, Edgar Berlanga, after the pair had a spat on Instagram last month.
@EdgarBerlangaJr littil pussy get ready I want you as my warm up . Like a littil aggressive kangaroo
— billyjoesaunders (@bjsaunders_) July 18, 2023
— Edgar Berlanga Jr (@EdgarBerlangaJr) July 19, 2023
After an astonishing sixteen consecutive first-round stoppages to begin his professional career, Berlanga has found knockouts harder to come by of late, winning his last five outings by unanimous decision.
‘The Chosen One’ remains undefeated, although some fans believe he has been the recipient of favourable decisions in recent times. By signing to Eddie Hearn’s promotional outfit, he intends to continue his pursuit of a super-middleweight world title shot.
Berlanga debuted for Matchroom at the end of last month where he outpointed Jason Quigley, showing that he still possesses the punch power that was so prevalent earlier in his career, scoring four knockdowns against the gritty Irishman.
Saunders would stand out as his toughest test to date, with his unquestionable ring IQ and ‘hit and not get hit’ style making him a difficult task for any fighter in the division.