By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS is a man in a hurry to move into the world middleweight title mix. Saunders is setting himself the aim of becoming world champion within a year
The Hatfield traveller meets unbeaten John Ryder at the Copper Box Arena in London’s Olympic Park on September 21 and is convinced a win will propel him into world class company.
It will be his second fight in two months, having beaten Gary O’Sullivan via a unanimous points decision in July.
And super-confident Saunders said: “I am hoping that, within 12 months, I can become a world champion – that’s my aim.”
Saunders, though, is fully aware that there is no easy route to the top and said: “I’m only 23 and learning all the time.”
The British and Commonwealth champion has been watching tapes of current greats like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
John Ryder is currently unbeaten in 15 bouts John Ryder is currently unbeaten in 15 bouts
He said: “I prefer to watch them than watch tapes of my upcoming opponents because you can learn from what greats like them do.
“I aim to be as good as I possibly can, then let the opponent worry about me.”
Saunders has a perfect record of 18 straight wins – 10 inside the distance – but he knows that defending his title against Islington bruiser Ryder will be tough.
“We will go for it, you can be sure of that. There will be no backing off between us”
He said: "Like me, he is unbeaten. “But you have to put yourself against strong opposition if you are going to make it to the top.”
Ryder, 25, is unbeaten in 15 bouts and said: “We both know it’s going to be a really tough fight.
“We will go for it, you can be sure of that. There will be no backing off between us.
“Everyone wants to see the fight and we’re both proper fighters who won’t hide. We’ve shaken hands but there won’t be any pleasantries on fight night.
“I’ll have to be at my best to beat him but the fight has come at the right time for me and I think I deserve it. We are both determined to win. So the fans won't be disappointed."