Billy Joe Saunders has welcomed Tyson Fury’s anticipated return to action in 2018 ahead of his own world-title defence against David Lemieux in Canada this weekend.
WBO world middleweight champion Saunders travels to Lemieux’s backyard to defend his title at the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec on Saturday night in a bout that will be screened live in the UK and Ireland on BoxNation, while HBO broadcast the fight across the Atlantic.
The 28-year-old title holder’s old friend Fury will be ringside to support him this weekend and Saunders was delighted to hear this week’s news that his fellow Traveller and world champion Fury – the lineal heavyweight titlist – has been cleared to box again.
“I’m over the moon,” said Saunders, who predicted that a much-hyped showdown between Fury and current belt holder Anthony Joshua will take place in 2018.
“I’m just pleased that he’s been set free and he can go and earn a few quid. He’s with the MTK stable too now, so he can go to work and take [Anthony] Joshua on,” added the MTK Global-backed middleweight following Fury’s recent move to sign an advisory deal with the same management group.
“I’ll be going up and doing a bit of training with Tyson soon, 100 percent,” continued Saunders. “He’s in a different place now mentally and he’s the man – he’s the man at that weight. The ‘Gypsy King’ is back to get his gold back!”
Saunders (25-0, 12KO) is looking to make his third successful world-title defence and extend his undefeated record on Saturday night when he meets the hard-hitting Lemieux on a Golden Boy Bill backed by Frank Warren.
Ahead of Thursday’s final pre-fight press conference, the relaxed champion insisted that he is looking forward to returning home with his title this weekend.
“I’m confident and I wouldn’t be here it I wasn’t,” said Saunders. “All it is now is a waiting game. Weigh-in on Friday, fight Saturday and home Sunday.
“It’s a waiting game because I’ve been away a long time, but I’ve had a great camp. I have a good team in MTK behind me, good management, and Frank Warren Promotions too, so I’m looking forward to a good Christmas when I can bring my belt home and it’ll be happy days.”