Exclusive: Saunders denies Booth rift, talks Khurtsidze collapse

Joe Hewlett 04/07/2017

Frank Warren

Billy Joe Saunders dismissed any rumours of a rift between himself and Adam Booth as he announced his decision to join up with Dominic Ingle.

The world champion paid tribute to Booth, branding him ‘one of the best trainers’ he’s ever worked with.

“Me and Adam had a chat and I think he’s a real, real good trainer, one of the best trainers I’ve worked with but he understood I needed to be away from that environment I was in because it’s just doesn’t mix with my boxing where I’m from,” Saunders exclusively told World Boxing News.

“The lifestyle with my mates and everything. I’m their mates but when I’m in camp I need to be on my own and that’s just too close to home for me to stay.”

Saunders is set to fight in September and it will be his first fight since his split with long-term trainer Jimmy Tibbs. He admitted at first it felt strange, but has gradually got used to it.

“First of all, it felt weird after Jimmy Tibbs but I worked with Adam for a bit so I got used to it and am all good.”

Boxing fans across the UK are intrigued to find out who the 27-year-old will be up against since his fight collapsed against Avtandil Khurtsidze.

The Georgian was arrested and charged for his involvement with a Russian organised crime syndicate in New York. Billy Joe refused to criticise Khurtsidze for extending his ring rust.

“I wanted to fight, just the same as him. He’s one of them people who has got himself in a bit of bother. I can’t mow him down for it, it’s his life I wish him all the best and hope he just gets a slap on the wrist.

“He was one fraction away from fighting for the world title and he wouldn’t have won it but it’s something he could have always looked back on.”

The boxing world will soon find out his next opponent as Frank Warren gets set to announce his next fight in the imminent future.

Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95