Billy Joe Saunders: Nobody Has Yet Seen The Best Of Me

By Jake Donovan

Billy Joe Saunders is really hoping for a year to remember after one he’d forever love to forget—even if 2019 hasn’t quite jumped off to the start he preferred.

The unbeaten former middleweight titlist is ready to put the past behind him, as he heads into his vacant super middleweight title fight versus Shefat Isufi. Their clash takes place this Saturday live on BT Sport and ESPN+ from Lamex Stadium in Stevenage, England—mere minutes from Saunders’ hometown of Hatfield.

“This is fantastic for Bill, he’s back in his home county,” noted Frank Warren during the final pre-fight press conference held Thursday on fight site. “He’s on a quest to get himself back in prime position.

“He has a terrible year last year, a real bad year. This is his chance to become a double world champion which is a rare occurrence for a British fighter. If he does it, he will be in some great company.”


Such proximity to his backyard would be the lone consolation prize in getting to this point. The fight was due to take place in April, but was postponed by more than a month for several issues. The billed title fight was downgraded to interim title clash and with that status even up in the air, with the show put on hold altogether. 

“When the fight was first (offered), I jumped at the chance with Frank to sign the deal,” Saunders (27-0, 13KOs) noted. “I was a bit gutted when news came (of the title not being at stake). Frank told me to just stick with it, that something will come of it. I’m happy that it turned out that way. I’m looking forward to becoming a two-weight world champion.”

Aiding his cause is noted trainer Ben Davison, best known for his work with unbeaten top heavyweight and Saunders' longtime friend Tyson Fury. The pairing has helped the brash Brit cope with the year that wasn’t, only having one fight in 2018 where he showed up at a beefy 178.5 pounds for a knockout win over Charles Adamu last December.

The fight was his first following his being stripped of the WBO middleweight strap. A failed drug test hindered his ability to receive a boxing license in United States’ Massachusetts, where Saunders was due to defend versus unbeaten Demetrius Andrade last October.

Despite the testing anomaly being forgiven by the British Boxing Board of Control—on whose grounds the positive drug test took place—the WBO wasn’t quite as forgiving, as he was declared unfit to defend the title at which point he was stripped of the strap he earned in a 12-round win over Andy Lee in Dec. 2015.

“I had a terrible 2018,” Saunders bluntly stated. “I feel like my title was robbed off of me, not beaten off me by a better man who I could shake hands with and say he was the better person. We’re here today fighting for the super middleweight title.”

To become a two-division titlist, he will need to get past Isufi (27-3, 20KOs), a streaking contender from Munich, Germany by way of Albania who has won his last 10 starts.

Saunders is a heavy betting favorite to prevail, despite technically moving up in weight. It’s a trajectory opposite his opponent, who has fought most of his career at cruiserweight and light heavyweight before moving down in weight in recent years.

“I’m 29 now. I know I’m coming into my prime now, nobody has yet seen the best of me,” Saunders insists. “It’s up to me to show it and with BT [Sport’s] backing we can make the bigger fights and bring them over to the UK.

“He’s coming on the back of 10 straight wins, but I’m coming on the back of 27 straight wins. So, the way I look at it, there’s no other opponent I’m looking at. If I’m on my A-game, no disrespect but there’s no way he’s going to win. I’ve trained hard and I’m coming in to knock his head off.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by aboutfkntime on 05-19-2019

I said this before the Lemieux fight..... [QUOTE][B][SIZE="3"]nobody has seen the best of Saunders yet.....[/SIZE][/B][/QUOTE] which, was a fight that I predicted perfectly..... I said that was a showcase opportunity against a made-to-order opponent..... which is why Warren jumped on…

Comment by robbyheartbaby on 05-18-2019

[QUOTE=Mexican_Puppet;19748563]Yeah. They are booms Leer was K.Od by one of the worst champions in mexican boxing history : Chávez JR Lemieux was K.Od by Marco Rubio Monroe? Who the is that guy and what he did? Eubank JR? Thats…

Comment by Koba-Grozny on 05-17-2019

[QUOTE=Snoop Frog;19750733]Saunders can definitely box. He's a great boxer. I said his win against Lemieux is tainted due to the PED usage.[/QUOTE] Well, I guess you could certainly put an asterisk by it - same as you could against previous…

Comment by Snoop Frog on 05-17-2019

[QUOTE=Koba-Grozny;19750229]He could well have been, but although there's many pharmaceuticals that could have improved his physical condition or helped with stamina or weigh loss, there's no drug known to man that gives you boxing skills and slickness. Saunders might not…

Comment by Koba-Grozny on 05-17-2019

[QUOTE=Frankie2Jabs;19750360]Sure, on occasion. I’d say Ricky Burns’ legacy skills and matchups are better than BJS. These are proven for whom you’ve fought and when. Until BJS gets in there with a real one and takes shots as Burns did with…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (41)
Top Headlines Herring Achieves Dream, Shocks Masayuki Ito For WBO Title Masayuki Ito vs. Jamel Herring - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Austin Trout vs. Terrell Gausha Ends in Disputed Split Draw Jose Pedraza Stops Antonio Lozada in The Ninth Devin Haney Brutally Knocks Out Antonio Moran With One Shot Filip Hrgovic Makes U.S. Debut, Demolishes Corbin in One Eto-Cintron Changed To No-Decision Due To Accidental Headbutt Koki Eto Crushes Jeyvier Cintron in One Round Michael Hunter Destroys Fabio Maldonado in Two Rounds Jessica McCaskill Decisions Sanchez To Unify WBC, WBA Belts Adam Lopez Stops Jean Carlos Rivera in Seventh Efe Apochi Breaks Down, Stops Earl Newman in Seventh Devin Haney vs. Antonio Moran - LIVE Results From MGM ESPN Results From Florida - Antonio Vargas is Shocked By KO Carlos Cuadras Decisions Daniel Lozano Over Eight Herring Feeling Confident, Loved Ahead Of First Career Title Fight Hughie Fury Blows Away Chris Norrad in Two Rounds Masayuki Ito-Jamel Herring: Stats & Stakes Gausha: Austin Trout is Type of Fight I Need To Move Forward Lozano: Beating Carlos Cuadras Will Open Doors For Bigger Fights Melvin Lopez Breaks Down, Stops David Reyes in Ninth Vences Wants Ito-Herring Winner Next, Hopes Herring Wins Can Xu, Shun Kubo Make Weight For Featherweight Title Fight Jamel Herring: I'm Comfortable At 130, Ready To Get That Strap Frank Warren: Saunders Wants To Fight Two More Times in 2019 Ito: I Love Fighting In The United States, No Distractions Haney: Guys Better Fight Me Now; I'll Only Get Stronger, Better Thurman: My Fight Will Deliver More Action Than Spence-Garcia! Daily Bread Mailbag: Deontay Wilder, Naoya Inoue, More BoxingScene's Television Pick of The Week - May 25 Beamon vs. Saludar, Crowley-Mansouri on CBS Sports, June 22 Hearn: There is a Chance AJ Could Lose - I'll Take Wilder Gamble Joshua Will Be Cautious of Ruiz's Combinations, Hand Speed Liam Walsh, Michael McKinson on ESPN+ Card on July 20 Is Pacquiao Destined To Suffer The Fate of Ali, Leonard & Others? Arum Rules Out Shakur Stevenson vs. Michael Conlan in Future Andy Ruiz's Trainer is Very Confident: Joshua Will Get Shocked! Joshua: Ruiz Was The One Who Put His Name On The Contract Photos: Jeyvier Cintron, Koki Eto - Ready For Eliminator Photos: Jose Pedraza, Antonio Lozada - Set For Grudge Match

Latest Active Forum Threads