By Shaun Brown
PROMOTER Frank Warren was in confident mood when Boxing Scene spoke to him about Billy Joe Saunders next defence of his WBO Middleweight title.
The Londoner will travel to America, with a date and venue to be confirmed, later this year to take on his mandatory challenger (ranked two with the WBO) after Warren and Andrade’s new boss Eddie Hearn struck a deal last week to avoid the fight going to purse bids.
Saunders, who withdrew from two proposed fights against Martin Murray this year, will have his second fight in a row overseas after outclassing David Lemieux over 12 rounds last December in Canada.
“I think Bill’s got everything going for him in this fight,” said Warren. “Bill’s a very, very difficult fighter. To start off he’s got a great chin, he’s got a great boxing brain, he’s got fast hands, he’s got good footwork and he’s a southpaw. He’s more than capable of looking after himself.
“Him and I have worked together since he started boxing and from my perspective I’m confident in his ability to win. He’s proved it before when he went and fought Lemieux and I think this fight will be no different.”
“Andrade is no mug,” he added. “He’s obviously a capable operator. Bill’s not been in the ring since last December which is a bit of a nuisance; pulled out of two fights. Andrade’s not been a very active fighter. He did want a warm up which I said we’re not going to allow otherwise you’re going to forfeit your position.”
Warren also informed ‘Scene that discussions had been held regarding a fight between Saunders and current IBF Super Middleweight champion James DeGale, prior to sealing a deal for Saunders to fight Andrade.
“Yes, we had conversations, but it was just too expensive as far as James DeGale was concerned. That was that. And it certainly wouldn’t have worked out for the money he wanted.”
A win for Saunders against Andrade puts him, once again, in a strong position to defend his title in a unification fight against the winner of the September 15 rematch between WBA/WBC/IBO 160lbs champion Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez. And while it is a fight that Saunders and Warren would clearly love to take on, the hall of fame promoter did hint that they were not going to hang around waiting on it.
“That’s what we would like and that’s where we are, but to be quite honest we’ve been round the block so many times with that their problems have become our problems. We’ve got to get on with our life. What’s there afterwards will be there one way or another,” said Warren who is tipping the Kazakh to prevail against the Mexican.
Before Saunders v Andrade, and one eye on Golovkin v Canelo, Warren’s attention is on his upcoming August 18 show outdoors at Windsor Park, Belfast, which will be shown live on BT Sport. A card that will see hometown hero Carl Frampton defend his WBO Interim Featherweight title against Australia’s Luke Jackson and fellow Belfast native Paddy Barnes make his first challenge for a world title against WBC Flyweight champion Cristofer Rosales. And the Northern Irishmen will be joined on the bill by Tyson Fury in his second comeback fight against Francesco Pianeta.
“We’ve got about 1200 tickets left (for the show),” Warren told ‘Scene.
“We’re delighted. It’ll be a great atmosphere there and I’m really looking forward to seeing it and looking forward to seeing Carl, Paddy (who have) both got good fights and I’m looking forward to Tyson getting another fight under his belt.”
“He’s obviously shed a lot more weight,” Warren said of the lineal heavyweight champion. “He looks good from the pictures I’ve seen of him in the gym. It is about getting match fit. I don’t think this fella’s going to be a round or two, I think he’ll be there for a while. He might not even stop him but he’s the type of opponent Tyson needs and will take him to the next level.”