Billy Joe Saunders takes soft first defence
By Adam Beechers: WBO Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders 23(12)-0 held a press conference at The O2 to confirm he would be defending against Ukraine’s ‘Mad’ Max Bursak 32(16)-4-1 on April 30th. The fight will be taking place at Hackney’s Copper Box Arena with its 7000 seated venue.
Following Saunders majority decision win over Ireland’s Andy Lee to capture the belt his promoter Frank Warren had been talking about taking on a few mouth watering middleweights as his first defense.
A rematch with long term domestic rival Chris Eubank JNR, Golovkin mandatory but injured Tureano Johnson and of course the current unified WBA Super, IBF, IBO and interim WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
No doubt Bursak is a durable opponent and has yet to be stopped in his career but has no real big wins under his belt and has notable losses against Britian’s Martin Murray, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, IBO champion Zac Dunn and Jarrod Fletcher of who Saunders knocked out in 2 rounds. It should be a fairly straight forward fight for the 26 year old.
“Nothing comes easy in boxing and I’m definitely not taking Bursak for granted.” The man from Hatfield said speaking to SkySports. “He’s a good, good, fighter and very dangerous and if I don’t come in 100 per cent then he could cause an upset in my first title defence. I’ve worked long and hard to get where I am and look at the massive fights ahead of me against the likes of Golovkin. So no, I’m going to make sure I’m in perfect shape and give Bursak the toughest night he’s ever had, he’s never been stopped before so that’s something I’m looking at doing.”
I have interviewed Saunders numerous times at various press conferences and I am confident he would take any fight put in front of him. Queensbury promotions Frank Warren has said numerous times he fancies his fighter to be the one to take GGG’s belts off of him but there have been some serious questions raised over the intentions of Warren in actually making the fight.
ESPN’s Dan Rafael tweeted today saying “Billy Joe Saunders was offered a career best 7 figure purse to unify the titles vs GGG but said no. Then he called out GGG after the Dominic Wade fight was made. Instead announced will defend vs Bursak who is 3-3 in his last 6 fights and not even a legitimate top 10 contender.”
Saunders should get past Bursak with ease by keeping him at range and allowing the Ukrainian to walk onto shots. We definitely need to see him step up his level of opposition whilst World champion and if the dream middleweight fight between Golovkin and Canelo happens on the Independence Day for Mexico in September then it will leave Saunders struggling to find an opponent to get a 7 figure pay day.
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