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The education of Billy Joe Saunders

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders 28-0 (13) realised he needed to grow up after videos of him behaving badly appeared online in 2018.

There was also a failed drugs test that also tarnished his image, but the 30-year-old southpaw insists his troubles are behind him.

Saunders returned to the ring in May to defeat Shefat Isufi for the vacant WBO 168-pound strap and is looking forward to continuing his unbeaten run when he faces an opponent to be named at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on November 9.

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That fight will take place on the undercard of KSI-Paul Logan II, a rematch between a pair of YouTubers that is expected to draw a large viewing audience on pay-per-view.

Saunders’ fight is expected to be broadcast for free in the US in a bid to raise his profile as he seeks a shot at world middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

“I wouldn’t say this about me wanting redemption, it’s just about wanting to be a role model for kids and needing to be a role model,” Saunders said to the Mirror.

“I started thinking about some of the things I’d done when I was lying in bed at night and I realised I’d got to stop doing them.

“I’ve made mistakes, plenty of them, and now I want to put my name out there for the right reasons.

“I want the big fights now — ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, Danny Jacobs, Callum Smith…

“Canelo on Cinco de Mayo, that’s the one I really want.

“I knew for years that I was going to fight David Lemieux and I always knew I could beat him.

“I’ve believed for years that one day I will fight Canelo and I know I can beat him as well.”

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