Home Boxing News Billy Joe Saunders primed for title defence against Martin Murray on Friday...

Billy Joe Saunders primed for title defence against Martin Murray on Friday night

Billy Joe Saunders
Billy Joe Saunders. Photo credit: Sky Sports

WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders 29-0 (14) and former four-time world title challenger Martin Murray 39-5-1 (17) both weighed in below the 168-pound limit ahead of their clash at The SSE Arena in Wembley, London on Friday night.

The champion came in at 167.3-pounds while the challenged scaled 167.4-pounds.

“First of all, I’ve got to thank you and Sky for even getting us out this year,” the 31-year-old Saunders said. “I didn’t think I was going to get out. All of the big fights were tied up. Out of the fights left out there, Martin Murray’s name was screaming out.

“We were supposed to fight twice before, it didn’t happen. He’s boxed for the world title four times; he should have been a two-time world champion. He was on the wrong end of two decisions.

“People are looking at this fight as a walk in the park for me and think I should win easily. If you look at Martin, he never takes damage. He’s never been beaten up in a fight. [Gennadiy] Golovkin was what it was; he got him in his prime. I promised him his shot, and it’s here. I believe that it’s my time to shine now. I’m doing this fight for my uncle Tom, who was like a dad to me.

“I want the [Daniel] Jacobs fights, and the Canelo [Alvarez] fights and the [Demetrius] Andrade fights now, but sadly everyone was tied up this year. The only one really worthy of taking the available fight was Martin Murray. He’s a four-time world title challenger. In my opinion, two-time world champion, so it’s not a bad pick out of the bunch.

“I know Martin is coming to fight. I haven’t been beaten on UK soil since I’ve been 12-years-old. I’ve got a good track record and I’m going to keep it that way. He’s going to bring a good game, but afterward, he can go back to St Helens, take his cash back and have a good Christmas and retire with the family because that’s what I’m planning on doing, retiring him.”

At 38, Murray is well aware that this will likely be his last world title opportunity and he plans on making it count.

“This is my fifth one now,” Murray said. “I know how hard a fight it’s going to be. I really rate Billy Joe. We’ve got unfinished business. Everything happens for a reason. I firmly believe, and truly believe that the pull outs years ago, all of the little setbacks that I’ve had, have all brought me to this point, and as I said, I’m fit, focused, and ready.

“I get it, I get why he pulled out, to be honest with you. We all want those bigger fights. It makes sense. There was a little bit of frustration at the time, but I left that where it was and I’ve got nothing against Billy.

“We shook hands when I got beat in my fight against [Hassan] N’Dam; he was on the card with me. He’s here now, and he’s honoured his word. He’s going to be in top condition himself, and we’re going to lay it all on the line. It’s going to be a good fight.

“No one has ever done it in five times in the UK. I believe [George] Groves four, Frank Bruno four, and I truly believe that there’s been a reason why I’ve picked myself up off the couch when times have been low and I’ve not wanted to go to the gym but I’ve forced myself to get there.

“There’s been a reason for it and it’s for Friday. For me to achieve what no-one else has done in the UK.”