Billy Joe Saunders to Fight Willie Monroe Jr. on 9/16 in London

By Keith Idec

Billy Joe Saunders wants to fight Gennady Golovkin.

For now, the unbeaten Brit will have to settle for facing one of Golovkin’s conquests on the same night Golovkin will battle Canelo Alvarez in one of the biggest boxing matches of the year. According to multiple reports Thursday afternoon, Saunders has agreed to defend his WBO middleweight title against Willie Monroe Jr. on September 16 at Copper Box Arena in London.

Saunders, of Manchester, England, was supposed to make a mandatory defense of his WBO 160-pound championship against Avtandil Khurtsidze this Saturday at Copper Box Arena. Their fight was canceled last month because Brooklyn’s Khurtsidze (33-2-2, 22 KOs) was arrested and charged with being part of a Russian crime syndicate (


The WBO subsequently removed the 38-year-old Khurtsidze from its rankings and allowed Saunders to make an optional defense in this next fight. Monroe is ranked No. 5 by the WBO.

Saunders had hoped to face Golovkin on June 10 in Golovkin’s native Kazakhstan, but that much-discussed middleweight championship unification fight fell apart after Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) went 12 rounds for the first time in his career during a unanimous-decision victory over former champion Daniel Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) on March 18 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Oscar De La Hoya, whose company promotes Alvarez, did not want Golovkin to risk an injury or an upset defeat by boxing Saunders so close to when he would’ve needed to start promoting his HBO Pay-Per-View showdown with Mexico’s Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) on September 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The 27-year-old Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) will end a nine-month layoff when he meets Monroe. In his last bout, Saunders beat Russia’s Artur Akavov (17-2, 7 KOs) by unanimous decision December 3 in Paisley, Scotland.

The 30-year-old Monroe (21-2, 6 KOs), of Rochester, New York, hasn’t fought since scoring a 12-round, unanimous-decision win against Philadelphia’s Gabe Rosado (23-11, 13 KOs) on September 17 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Golovkin stopped Monroe in the sixth round of their May 2015 fight at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Hmabshir on 07-07-2017

[QUOTE=nycsmooth;17838266]Saunders by TKO Monroe does not have the strength or power to keep this guy off him... poor match up..[/QUOTE] lmfao! Saunders has punching power? you don't know **** about boxing if you think Saunders can punch, his most recent…

Comment by Hmabshir on 07-07-2017

[QUOTE=denium;17837670]Casual....[/QUOTE] Only casual fans are the british. You guys don't know **** about boxing. Saunders looked trash in his most recent fight, which he arguably should have lost to a fringe contender. He balloons in weight every fight and turns…

Comment by Southpawology on 07-07-2017

[QUOTE=ScottWeiland;17838758]For me Monroe has to be a wide favourite, he was out boxing Golovkin in spells, schooled Gabe, the only reason I wouldn't bank on Monroe winning is down to he's fighting in UK.[/QUOTE] True hes gotta put on a…

Comment by ScottWeiland on 07-07-2017

[QUOTE=Southpawology;17837593]Why do people say this??? Rosado didnt win one round of that fight. Monroe boxed a shut out.[/QUOTE] For me Monroe has to be a wide favourite, he was out boxing Golovkin in spells, schooled Gabe, the only reason I…

Comment by Baltimore on 07-07-2017

Okay fight. I think Monroe has a real shot but doubt he will get the decision

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