WBO Inter-Continental light-welterweight champion Bradley Saunders 11(8)-0-0 will face Frenchman Stephane Benito 22(8)-18(4)-3 at the Ice Arena in Hull on March 7th live on Sky Sports on the undercard of Matchroom’s Divide and Conquer show featuring local favourites Tommy Coyle and Luke Campbell.
This will be Saunders 12th outing in the pro ranks and his second appearance under the Matchroom banner since signing with Eddie Hearn’s outfit in October last year.
The fight will provide the Sedgefield 28-year-old with a much needed tune up before headlining a huge show in Newcastle on April 4th as he challenges Commonwealth champion Dave Ryan 16(3)-8-0 for his title.
Prior to the biggest fight of his pro career so far is the March 7th contest against 35-year-old Benito who makes the trip to the UK for just the second time in his 15 year career.
The former French champion has also held the IBF version of Saunders’ WBO strap and comes into the fight off the back of six straight losses.
The former Beijing Olympian commented on his opponent from Oliver Harrison’s Manchester gym, “I don’t know much about him to be honest but in all fairness, I’ll just leave that to Oliver and I’ll do whatever he feels I should.”
Faultfinders were quick to criticise Saunders in his last performance as he laboured to a points win over Ivan Levickis in Liverpool last November. Saunders put the uninspiring showing down to taking the fight at just three weeks notice in a heavier weight class, “I’m a lot better than I was in the last fight, I’m fitter and I’m used to Oliver now so this is like the first step of many, hopefully,” he clarified.
“Training has been good, I’ve secluded myself away from everyone including my missus and my boy. I’m in my hotel room and if I’m not there, then I’m in the gym. I’m working with Danny and Chris, two lads from Liverpool who work with Paul Butler in the gym, they’re very good and know what they’re talking about. When I’m at home in the North East then I’m with Ian Glass, I’ll be training with him when I fly back this weekend.
“I’m used to it now, being away from the family. When it’s concerning my boxing it’s better so I can concentrate solely. I’m just keeping myself busy and I’m learning already with Oliver.”
“I’m looking forward to getting out there. Campbell and Coyle and Rocky are all on same the show so it’ll be good a night of boxing in Hull.”
Tommy Coyle 20(9)-2(1)-0 tops the bill against former British lightweight champion Martin Gethin 25(11)-6(3)-1 whilst Olympic hero Luke Campbell MBE is back on the bill having withdrawn from the event through the illness of his father. Campbell discussed matters with his family and father and made a U-turn and decided to go ahead and box on the show after all, stating that it had been a difficult time but he wanted to continue the momentum for his career.
A quality supporting cast joins the rest on the night as exciting Birmingham youngster Sam Eggington 13(7)-2-0 fights for his first major title on the bill, up against Shayne Singleton 20(6)-0-0 for the WBC International Silver welterweight strap.
Liverpool’s unbeaten super-middleweight Rocky Fielding 19(1)-0-0 makes his eagerly anticipated return to the ring after hand surgery following his fifth round win over Noe Gonzalez in July.
Unbeaten local lad Tom Knight 5(1)-0-0 steps up to face former English champion Erick Ochieng 16(4)-4-0 in a welterweight contest.
Another Hull resident Nathon Smith 5(1)-0-1 will also appear on the line-up in what will be his second fight of the year, just one week apart. The 24-year-old welterweight will fight first on Friday 27th February on David Coldwell’s ‘Blaze of Glory’ event.
Tickets are on sale now priced £40, £60, £100 and £150 VIPs available directly from Team Saunders
Follow Bradley Saunders on Twitter @bradsaunders86