Former two-division world champion Billy Joe Saunders is back in training to shave off a lot of the weight that he gained during his extended layoff.

Saunders has been out of the ring since May of 2021, when he suffered the first defeat of his pro career - a stoppage loss to Mexican superstar Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.

The super middleweight unification clash was stopped after Saunders sustained a fractured orbital bone.

At one point it appeared that Saunders would retire from the sport, but now he's plotting a return to the ring.

The targeted comeback could take place in late 2022 or early 2023.

"I have enjoyed a bit of down time and had a nice year out. I am getting a bit bored and I have got itchy fists so decided to do a little bit of training to shift some timber to see where the road will take me. Life is okay, I went for my check-ups to my doctor and he was happy," Saunders told Matchroom Boxing.

"The first thing is obviously your health. It is pointless boxing whatever you are boxing for whether it is millions or just a pound to come back if that's not in check, and if I decide, which it is looking like I will, to come back then I can.  It is nice to enjoy a bit of training, and it is nice to have a clear head and to see where I want to go rather than have defenses and stuff and go where other people want me to go.

"I think this year is definitely marketable for myself. I am in the gym now going twice a day and the weight is coming off and I am getting fitter by the day. It could be [ready to fight] at the end of the year or it could be early next year but we will soon find out. It all depends on what opponent is available."