By Carlos Boogs
According to promoter Frank Warren WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) will likely defend his world title against Avtandil Khurtsidze (33-2-2, 22 KOs) on July 8th at the Copper Box in London.
On Saturday night at the Leicester Arena in Leicester,Khurtsidze (33-2-2, 22 KOs) blasted out undefeated Tommy Langford in five rounds to secure the WBO interim-middleweight title - and a shot at full
Langford was the much taller fighter and tried his best to create distance, but all it took was one massive left hook from the 37-year-old Khurtsidze to close the show.
Saunders was being lined up for a June unification with IBO, WBA, WBC IBF middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. The fight fell through when Golovkin's handlers revealed that GGG was still pretty sore from his March win over Daniel Jacobs and wasn't physically ready to jump right back to training camp.
The champion has been very inactive in the last two years. He's only fought once since capturing the WBO belt from Andy Lee in December 2015. He returned last December, not in the best of shape, and won a tough decision over Artur Akavov.
Khurtsidze has only lost once since 2005 - a 2010 decision loss to Hassan N'Dam. Since then he's won ten fights in a row, and his last six fights have ended inside the distance.
"He's a good banger the guy. You can see by his record how many knockouts he's got. At least now the British fans know who he is and he's qualified now for Billy Joe Saunders," Warren told IFL TV.
"This fight [with Langford] was all part of the deal, with Lou DiBella's office. We worked very hard to enable Bill to get the shot against Golovkin, including [working] with Golovkin's people. And that meant putting on the interim-title, giving this guy [Khurtsidze] step-aside money, and that's what we did. And now Bill has to fight him and that's where we are."
"We want to go, as you heard, on the 8th of July. That's the date we're looking at... in London. Bill will fight on the 8th of July in London, Copper Box."