By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS plans to snatch pal Darren Barker’s IBF middleweight title. The Romany Gypsy defends his British title against John Ryder at London’s Copper Box Arena tomorrow night.
And he hopes that victory in that will lead to a title challenge against Barker, who became world champion by defeating Daniel Geale last month.
Saunders, 24, said: “Not only is Darren a good fighter, he’s a cracking fella. No-one deserves it more after what he’s been through.
“From a personal viewpoint, it makes it easier for me if there’s a world middleweight title to aim for in this country, rather than having to travel to the USA, Germany, Australia or wherever.
“I’d like to think me against Darren could happen sometime next year, but if the fight was made for this Saturday, I wouldn’t turn it down.
“I was bred to fight. That’s just the way I was made. If someone offered me a fight on the street, I’d take it. I’m a fighting man.”
Saunders has won all of his 18 professional bouts, while Ryder has an unbeaten record in his 15 bouts. Saunders said of the eagerly-anticipated domestic dust-up:
“I’ve prepared for a very tough contest.
“It will be fought at a very high pace and I expect there will be action right from the start. As long as John Ryder’s still standing, he’s going to pose a threat.
“I’ve got to be respectful of that. We’ll see exactly what he’s got once the first bell sounds.
“In my mind, I’m expecting John will be the best boxer and the best fighter I’ve ever faced.
“My only prediction is that I will win. In boxing, there’s no prize for second place.”