By Elliot Foster
Billy Joe Saunders has parted company with his trainer.
The WBO middleweight champion had been mentored by Jimmy Tibbs since turning professional after the 2008 Olympics.
But after the pair were not working together for Saunders’ last fight earlier this month, when he laboured to a points victory over Artur Akavov to retain his crown at the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley, Scotland, it has now been revealed that the 27-year-old will have to look for a new mentor heading into 2017.
Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) won the world title last December in Manchester, exclusively live on BoxNation, outpointing Andy Lee and made his first defence, against Akavov and following a succession of issues throughout the year, with Danny Vaughan, Johnney Roye and Ben Davies in his corner.
And the undefeated man’s promoter Frank Warren confirmed the news to Gareth A Davies.
“In [Saunders’] last fight there were a lot of problems, there were problems with his training and he’s now parted company with Jimmy Tibbs, who wasn’t in his corner for his last fight,” Warren told talkSPORT’s Fight Club on Monday.
“There were issues there and I’m sure he’ll be working with a new trainer in the new year.”
Warren went on to talk to the Daily Telegraph’s boxing correspondent about the lethargy within his man’s last performance, which the fighter himself called ‘terrible’ in the aftermath.
“He’s old enough and sensible enough to know that that [performance] was a wake-up call for him and that he can’t let that happen again.
“Bill at his best is a real tough fighter to beat, with a great amateur and professional pedigree, but he has had a crappy year this year and that was his only fight.
“He’s got to be busy and he knows what he’s got to do otherwise he’ll fall by the wayside.”
Saunders was ordered at the WBO Convention earlier this year to make back-to-back mandatory defences.
Further details regarding his training setup will be revealed in due course.