Billy Joe Saunders moves up, fights ex-cruiserweight for vacant WBO title

Ringside 18/02/2019

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BILLY JOE SAUNDERS will bid to become a two-weight world champion when he challenges for the vacant WBO super middleweight world title.

The ex-160 champ fights against Shefat Isufi at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday, April 13, live on BT Sport.

Saunders, a former Southern Area, Commonwealth, British, WBO International and European champion, was an undefeatedĀ ruler at middleweight, having won the belt in December 2015 with a points victory over former champion Andy Lee.

Successful defences followed against Artur Akavov and Willie Monroe Jr. Plus most notably, a career-best performance against David Lemieux on away soil in Canada

The 29-year-old was set to make a further defence last October against mandatory challenger Demetrius Andrade. But eventually opted to relinquish his title after the Massachusetts commission refused to licence him to fight in Boston after an adverse finding in a VADA test.

The Hatfield southpaw would have been clear to defend under the rules of the British Boxing Board of Control. Ratified in conjunction with UKAD and WADA agencies that govern doping protocols.

Still undefeated at 27-0, Saunders returned to the ring in December. He fought a keep busy exercise against Charles Adamu. Saunders was recently installed as mandatory challenger for his previous title, with Andrade now holding the belt.

Saunders will break new territory by moving up to 168lbs and is seeking to reign at a second weight class.


His opponent is the WBO No.1 ranked Serbian Isufi. The Munich-based contender holds a record of 27-3-2 with 20 KOs.

The 29-year-old is the holder of the WBO Intercontinental title. Isufi has made two defences of the belt he won by defeating David Zegarra via an 11th round stoppage for the vacant title in July 2017.

He has previously fought for and won the IBF European title at light heavyweight. He also held the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council cruiserweight title.

Isufi is undefeated as a super middleweight.

An announcement will be made soon on when tickets can be purchased for this event.