By Terence Dooley
Hatfield’s Billy Joe Saunders blasted out Norbert Szekeres in the first round of their scheduled eight-threes bout in Liverpool’s Echo Arena on Saturday night to improve to 10- 0 (7) and set up a Southern Area middleweight title challenge to Gary Boulden at London’s Wembley Arena on November 5th.
Szekeres amassed a record of 0-2-3 in his previous five; he has an overall slate of 9-8-3 (6) and was widely expected to fold within a round or two. Saunders, though, showed a nice repertoire of shots before flooring his man with a right hook.
The Hungarian beat the count only to crumble to the canvas for a second time after taking a right uppercut. Referee Steve Gray wisely waved it off at 2:51 of the opener despite Szekeres once again beating the count.
Still, the 25-year-old visitor was way out of his depth; Gray kept a close eye on him after the first flooring and opted to save Szekeres from further punishment. “I just went in there and did my job,” said Saunders when speaking to Boxingscene.
“It is a shame I didn’t get five or six rounds to be honest. He got caught so I put him away early. I’ve been working hard with [trainers] Jimmy and Mark Tibbs. Everything that Jimmy asks me to do gets picked up on. I’m punching harder than ever.
“I am ready for big fights. I’m starting to make my mark. I’m out November 5th against Gary Boulden for the Southern Area title so have that to look ahead to. Mark will come to fight; he wants to keep the title so I’ll be at my best. It is a long road but please god I win that one and Frank [Warren] will line up the English or Commonwealth then see where I go.”
The skilled southpaw has recently welcomed Frankie Gavin into Jimmy’s stable; Gavin is a fellow portsider, exceptionally skilled and presents Saunders with a challenge when the two share the sparring ring.
“It is great to have Frankie at the gym”, said Saunders as talk turned to their new addition, “he’s working hard, we’ve sparred each other and push each other on. It is good for both of us. Frankie’s a good thinking fighter. I’ve got a bit of weight on him so I don’t go mad. We both help each other.”
A member of Britain’s traveling community, Saunders still lives on a site in Hatfield, he hopes to net a world title and become the first traveler to bring home a world crowd. Although the 22-year-old admits that fellow Gypsy Tyson Fury may get there first.
“I think I can become a world champion, if I didn’t think I could do that in this sport then I’d quit and get a day job. I want to be the best in everything I do. I do believe I’ll be crowned world champion one day. There’s never been a boxing world champion from the traveling community so please god I’m the first to do it,” stated Saunders.
“But Tyson might beat me to it, yeah. Tyson’s up there with the big fights and British and Commonwealth titles, he’s doing really well and sets a great example to members of our community as well so best of luck to him.”
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