Billy Joe Saunders has revealed his next fight will be abroad in Canada after agreeing to put his WBO middleweight title on the line against David Lemieux.
The pair have been at each other’s throats on social media lately following the WBO’s stipulation Saunders must face Lemieux next as mandatory challenger.
Eyebrows were raised on Tuesday night when the fight was confirmed to take place in Montreal though, without a purse bid being made in anger.
The deadline was set for Friday 20 October, although Golden Boy and Frank Warren managed to reach a deal beforehand which will see Saunders head overseas for a contest for the first time in his career.
“My next flight will be 16 December against David Lemieux in Canada for my world title. Hard work pays off,” said Saunders.
Former IBF champion Lemieux was much more antagonizing with his response to deal being struck.
“It’s official. I finally get the chance to teach this coward a lesson. It’s about time I go and get that belt, it’s going to be beautiful,” said the French-Canadian.
This week’s finalization puts an end to any talk of Saunders facing British rival Amir Khan following a recent call-out, whilst the victor from the Lemieux bout will be in prime position to face the winner of the Gennady Golovkin v Canelo Alvarez rematch, currently in talks to take place in Las Vegas on May 5, 2018.
Due to the Golden Boy link, there’s talk of a possible spot on the undercard defending the WBO strap before a huge four-belt meeting to fully unify the 160 division later in the year.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay