Home Boxing News Billy Joe Saunders insists he is not underestimating Martin Murray

Billy Joe Saunders insists he is not underestimating Martin Murray

Billy Joe Saunders

WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders is champing at the bit to get back in the ring after his proposed fight with Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez fell through earlier this year due to the implications of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Saunders 29-0 (14) will make the second defence of his 168-pound belt against four-time world title challenger Martin Murray 39-5-1 (17) at The SSE Arena in Wembley, London on Friday night.

“I just want to get one in before the end of the year,” the 31-year-old Saunders said. “There’s a lot of fighters struggling to get out. I’ve had a major disappointment. The Canelo fight fell through in May. On Friday we’ll rock and roll.”

Murray, 38, has been one of the hard-luck stories in professional boxing. He drew with Felix Sturm in his first world title bid in Germany in a disputed result nine years ago and had WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez down in the eighth round of their fight in Argentina in 2013 before losing 112-115 on all three judges’ scorecards.

Five years ago he dropped a split decision to then-WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham, again in Germany.

“If you want to go on professional experience, he’s had more fights than me. He’s challenged for the world title four times. He should have been world champion in two of those fights. I’ve promised him a chance,” Saunders continued.

“There’s always a risk I could get in there and get knocked out in one round. There’s a risk to people’s lives. I haven’t overlooked Martin. I’ve trained myself the best I can for the date. I know he doesn’t lay down, I can’t afford that kind of performance.

“Martin has his own mind. He’s prepared how he wants to prepare, whether he wants to train on emotion, grit or experience. He has to find a way to beat me and that will be difficult for any fighters on the planet. I can sense frustration from Martin’s camp. We had two fights that fell through.

“I would be disappointed if I went in there and blew him away in one round. I need rounds for next year. I need to get in there, in the real thing, to go into the big fights next year. To get over that bridge I need to beat Martin Murray. He’s not one of those fighters you can ever completely write off.”