Unbeaten light-welterweight ace, Bradley Saunders (12-0) claims to have fully recovered from the injury that kept him out of a Commonwealth title fight last April and also stated his ambition to fight the best out there in the talent-packed 140lbs division.
Following over two years of injury woe, the County Durham star is now back in the gym and working hard towards a September date, “I’m in a very, very good place at the minute,” he explained.
“I started punching again, the last few years have been up in the air, everyone knows that, but I’m feeling very, very good and I’m surrounded by good people at the MGM Marbella.”
Hand specialist, Mike Hayton operated on the Beijing 2008 Olympian earlier this year at The Alexandra Hospital in Cheshire after rupturing tendons in his right hand just days ahead of his scheduled Commonwealth title challenge on April 4th against the holder, Dave ‘Rocky’ Ryan (17-8).
“It doesn’t look the best, I’ve seen better in a hospital bin but it’s brilliant, Mike Hayton’s fixed it and it feels better than ever,” he said of his right hand.
It was the second successful procedure on the same patient having repaired his left hand two years earlier in December 2012 following an injury sustained in the fifth round of his fifth professional fight against the only opponent to take him past six rounds – Irish light-middleweight champion, Peter McDonagh.
“I’ve had injuries that would make other people retire. Other people have had one hand injury and retired but I’ve had both my hands done and I’m still going. I believe that you’ll do something if you wanna’ do it,” he enthused.
The aforementioned opponent is now counted as a teammate of Saunders at his MGM Gym in Spain.
“There’s always good sparring opportunities available here, it’s world class. There’s Peter McDonagh (24-28-1), Declan Geraghty (7-1), Thomas Stalker (10-1). I’ve not started sparring yet but probably will do in two weeks time,” said the 29-year-old.
After a stuttering pro career spanning almost three and a half years, the Matchroom boxer is looking forward to being active once again in the new season.
“I’m definitely fighting in October in Newcastle and I want to get a run out in September,” he clarified. “It could be down in London but not sure on anything just yet. I’m 29 now, I don’t wanna be mucking about, I’m ready to fight anyone.”
News emerged recently of Saunders’ former Team GB teammate, Frankie Gavin (22-2) dropping down to the 140lbs division following his failed world title bid against IBF World welterweight champion, Kell Brook (35-0) in May.
The Sedgefield boxer commented on his new rival’s switch in weight class, “I know Frankie Gavin has gone down to light-welterweight and I think he’s is a bit ahead of me just now, he’s been in the pro game a bit longer and I wish him all the best.”
Frankie Gavin made his pro bow in February 2009 against George Khadaria (5-3 at the time) in his hometown of Birmingham winning via fourth round stoppage.
“I honestly wish him the very best but I hope he can go out and win a world title and if he does then there’s no reason why he won’t give me a phone call.”
On the world scene, the WBC and IBF World light-welterweight straps are both vacant right now, leaving the division wide open for new talent to emerge.
“It’s up for grabs, it’s wide open at the moment. There’s champions Danny Garcia (30-0), Jessie Vargas (26-1) and Terence Crawford (26-0) who has the WBO and he is absolutely tremendous.”
Terence Crawford has been tipped by many to be the next pound-for-pound boxing star, Saunders included.
“I think that he’s [Terence Crawford] top class but I’m not one of those who wouldn’t wanna fight them, I want to be in big fights. If I’m good enough, which I believe I am, I don’t think any world champion is going to offer me a fight because I’m not an easy route.
“I was after the British title for the last two years but no one would give me the shot because I’m no one’s easy route.
“I bring me, it doesn’t matter who I’m fighting, whether it’s a journeyman or a world champion, you’ll get the same Bradley Saunders and I think people know that. Win, lose or draw, if you’re in with Bradley Saunders then you’re in for a fight!”
Saunders concluded with a special message to his team, “I’m lucky to have a great team around me and I’d like to thank my manager, Daniel Kinahan for looking after me and my family.”