By Anson Wainwright
Although Billy Joe Saunders was winning his fight against Emanuele Blandamura on Saturday night at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, he wasn’t having things all his own way against the awkward Italian.
However as the seconds ticked down in the eighth round Saunders rendered all that had gone before it irrelevant landing a huge right hook, Blandamura’s legs dipped and he reeled on to the ropes, Saunders struck twice more before the referee called a halt to proceedings with Blandamura in no position to continue.
Saunders 20-0 (11 KOs) would add the European middleweight title to his ever growing collection of belts, that also consists of the British, commonwealth and WBO International title.
A short while after his victory Saunders, promoter Frank Warren and trainer Jimmy Tibbs would speak with several members of the media on various subjects including his recovery from injury, future goals and a certain Chris Eubank Jr.
BoxingScene.com: People have questioned your power, however this was a very explosive finish against and unbeaten tough fighter, does that please you?
Saunders - It does. Me and Jimmy have been working on it (power) a bit for this camp. I felt I was loading up a little bit tonight. I wasn’t a slick as I could have been. I was looking for the left hand to the body, he was so open, I thought I’d catch him. I knew they could see it ‘cause I could see it. I threw the bodyshot missed and came through with the hook and caught him a peach.
BoxingScene.com: How is your hand after the layoff?
Saunders - Very good, like it never happened. I’ve been out ten months now, my last fight was the British title against John Ryder. After ten months I couldn’t ask for a better performance.
Like I said ringside, I've got to thank Frank Warren. It's been an extremely tough week, fighters pulling out and so on but they still managed to put a good show like this in Manchester just for me and the other guys. He’s (Frank Warren) not just thinking of big fights he thought of the undercard tonight, so I’d like to thank Frank for that.
BoxingScene.com: Did you have any ring rust tonight?
Saunders - I think there could have been tonight, a little bit of ring rust.
Warren - It’s timing more than anything, just getting the distance.
Saunders - Falling short a little bit. But listen I’ve been out ten months. I’ve had good sparring but there’s nothing better than getting out there being active. But now I’m injury free, like Frank said we’ll have a meeting next week, sit done and see where we go from here.
BoxingScene.com: After a good start the fight got a little scrappy in the middle part of the fight, what did you tell him to do Jimmy?
Tibbs - Just hold yourself together and keep boxing. Let him feel your jab and when you do get close to him be sharper than him. That guy’s a non-puncher but scrappy and all over you just cuffing you and that’s what he did for eight rounds until he ran out of gas and Billy Joe caught him.
Saunders - He didn’t know what he was gonna throw next himself.
BoxingScene.com: Both you and Chris Eubank Jr. have traded words all week, where does that animosity come from?
Saunders - I’ve got a big heart, I would never give in. I don’t disrespect people and say I’m gonna knock em’ out if I don’t know them. He said he could knock me out in five rounds. So let’s not keep talking about it, let’s do it, see if he can. He might piss me off saying it, I’m doing it, he’s talking it. We’re the same age, same amount of fights. I’m British, commonwealth, European and WBO International (champion), what is he? Fighting bums, he shouldn't be mentioning my name. But if he wants to do it, let’s do it.
BoxingScene.com: Would you take it as your next fight?
Saunders - I’ll get back in that ring and fight him tonight. He won’t take the fight because he hasn’t got a pair of balls, he’s got a minge between his legs. He won't come and fight me, so let’s forget him, let’s move on to bigger and better things because it’s pointless talking about him, he likes his name mentioned. Let’s get on and hopefully be WBO champion very soon.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright