Saunders-Isufi to clash for WBO 168lb title

Billy Joe Saunders will bid to become a two-weight world champion when he challenges for the vacant WBO super middleweight world title on April 13. Still undefeated at 27-0, 13 KOs, Saunders meets the WBO #1 ranked Munich-based Serbian Shefat Isufi (27-3-2, 20 KOs) at The SSE Arena, Wembley.

“It is a brilliant opening for me,” said Saunders on his shot at a second world title and went on to explain his reasoning for passing up his mandatory status at middleweight. “You’ve got these rumors that Andrade is going for shoulder surgery, as well as the financial side of it with the split – it all doesn’t add up.

“Me winning this super middleweight title will put me in a great position for unifications with the likes of Callum Smith, while we’ve got Chris Eubank boxing James DeGale at the weekend.

“There are a lot of big, big fights at this weight, but my real home of homes is middleweight, so I can move down at any time I want and be back as mandatory for my middleweight title and then become a three-time world champion.

“So I am really looking forward to it and Isufi comes as a really stiff test. He is very, very strong and you have to be really switched on and calculating with this sort of opponent. He is one of those who, with what he does, he does very, very well when the bell goes.

“He has boxed at light heavyweight and cruiserweight so he is going to be a big, big lump and I need to make sure I am on it and stay away from those big bombs.”

Saunders went on to acknowledge that the winning of another world title will afford him the license to remain active and not be left waiting where big fights are concerned.

“Boxing has its ups and downs, so when you get a world title opportunity it is hard to turn it down,” he considered.

“I have to take my hat off to Frank Warren because he has delivered for me after we were finding it hard to make the Andrade situation happen at this time.

“It will 100 percent happen in the future, not on their terms, but on mine because I am the bigger name and have beaten the better men. I will prove it by going up a weight, winning another world title and take it from there.

“If the big fights at middleweight come along then fine, but if not I am giving myself another gate to walk through. I have been stuck in one room where I have been looking around and none of these big middleweights want to fight. I have put myself on offer to them and even when I was world champion it wasn’t happening.

“I am opening another door now and giving myself a little bit more variety when it comes to opponents.”

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