By Frank Wiechula, courtesy of The Daily Star
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS insists broken hands won't stop him in his quest for world middleweight title glory.
The unbeaten British and Commonwealth champion, who fights Italian Emanuele Blandamura on the Dereck Chisora v Tyson Fury undercard in Manchester on July 26, has been plagued by fist trouble.
Saunders broke his left hand in his sixth fight and had surgery two-and-a-half months ago to repair ripped tendons in his right, and has often battled through the pain barrier in his 19 victories.
The 24-year-old traveller from Hatfield knows one more win against unbeaten 34-year-old Blandamura - who is 22-0 - will earn him a world title shot against WBO holder Peter Quillin.
Saunders said: "I'm injury prone and I generally get swelling most fights, I think it's just the way I'm made, I've got brittle hands. I've been in the ring before and it's felt like a chainsaw's gone through it.
"But once I'm in there all I think about is winning, no matter what pain I go through and that helps me forget about it. And it definitely won't stop me going all the way, a gun won't stop me!
"I had surgery from one of the best, Mike Hayton, who is a specialist in hands. He's helped other boxers and the goalkeepers at Manchester United.
"All I can do is seek the best help I can and listen to the experts. It is a brutal sport but I love it, there will be bones broken but you've got to get on with it.
"I do strengthening exercises every day which helps and I've got a dietician on board too now. I've come this far and I know I can't possibly afford to lose this fight, this is everything on the line.
"This is for the vacant European crown but it's like my world title fight because I know I have to win it to be mandatory for the WBO."
Gunners fan Saunders is going to Wembley for the FA Cup final tomorrow against Hull, and beefed up for the challenge by tucking into a specially-made Arsenal burger at Frederick's restaurant in Islington.
He added: "I've heard this Italian say it'll be his easiest fight but I'll win comfortably - I'm going to outbox him and make him look an old man."Tags: Billy Joe Saunders