Billy Joe Saunders has predicted he will need to be at his best for his all-MTK Global world-title clash at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday, April 14.
Saunders went head to head with Martin Murray at a fight-launch press conference hosted by promoter Frank Warren in the English capital this week ahead of their WBO middleweight title showdown, which will be screened live in the UK and Ireland on BT Sport and BoxNation.
The MTK Global stablemates were respectful and courteous to each other throughout, whilst Saunders admitted their fight-night will not be a civil affair due to their respective ambitions.
Defending champion Saunders is still targeting a future bout against Gennady Golovkin or Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez as he aims to one day unify the 160lb division’s world titles.
While the Hatfield native was at his best during a recent victory over Canadian David Lemieux, he insisted that Murray is capable of upsetting his grand plans.
Saunders said: “Martin Murray is a good fighter and I have got the greatest of respect for him. But he’s in the way of what I’m aiming for this year and that is to become Undisputed Middleweight World Champion. He’s coming try and win my world title and I’m sure it’s going to be a good fight!
“The Lemieux fight is behind me now. To be honest, Martin Murray brings more of a threat than Lemieux.
“Martin, in my opinion, should’ve been world champion twice. People say he’s aged or whatever, but you only have to look at his last few performances to still it’s still there.
“I take my hat off to him for taking the fight and I’m happy to give him the opportunity to fight,” added the 28-year-old champion, who reiterated his intention to retire by his early thirties.”
*Tickets: 02 presale tickets available via www.axs.com; general sale tickets from AXS, Eventim and Ticketmaster from 10am on Monday, January 29. Prices: £40 (Tier), £50, £75, £100, £150, £200 and £300 (Hospitality).