Billy Joe Saunders is delighted to secure a homecoming of sorts at Stevenage Football Stadium just a few miles from his home.
Despite London initially being eyed for a WBO interim title date with Shefat Isufi, promoter Frank Warren scouted alternative venues after hitting a dead end.
Saunders now travels a short distance to the Lamex Stadium for an open-air shot at two-weight championship glory.
“I am very, very happy for the fight, more or less, to be taking place in my home town,” said Saunders. “Stevenage and Hatfield is my area. I am excited to be fighting in front of my ‘home’ fans and I am finally home.
“This is my real homecoming from the time I turned pro really. I know I have got great support there. I look forward to them all coming out. They’ll see me put on a brilliant display of boxing.
“I am just happy I am in this position now. Frank has made it work.”
Both Saunders and Warren are expected the ground to be jumping on May 18th.
“It is good times and I reckon it will be a complete sell-out. I’ve got a lot of support in the town. It’s a bonus that Stevenage is just along the A1, which is what all my supporters will be travelling on.”
Promoter Frank Warren added: “We were stuck with no London venue available in May. So we decided to think outside the box go local to Bill. To bring the fight to Stevenage FC.
“It’s a good facility which will have a 10-12,000 capacity for boxing.”
The stadium itself is around 6,700, but with the added seats on the pitch, Warren aims for a five-figure attendance.
“I am delighted to be returning Bill to his home patch for what is a significant development in his career,” he added.
“Stevenage is new territory for us. I’m looking forward to breaking new ground. I am sure the local fans will come out in numbers to support their local man as Bill enters this next phase of his career.”
Stevenage Football Club CEO Alex Tunbridge believes it’s a real coup for the League Two outfit hosting a massive UK star in Saunders.
“The opportunity to bring a World Title Fight to the town and host it at The Lamex Stadium is something which we are very excited about.
“It puts the Club and the town on an international platform. This will in turn boost profiles and the local economy.
“The event marks the start of an exciting period of time for the Club. It will be followed by the opening of the new North Stand later in the year.
“Several other exciting new ventures will happen during the course of this summer,” he added.
Opponent Shefat Isufi plans to spoil Saunders’ party, though.
“Billy can have a million people cheering him on, there’s only going to be two of us in that ring on fight night. I will give Billy Joe a very tough night,” said the 29 year-old German. “Billy is very good fighter, very fast and quick.
“He’s a good puncher but I am very confident I will give him a tough time.”
Isufi concluded: “I promised my father on his death bed that I would be a world champion and this is my chance.”
Saunders vs Isufi at the Lamex Stadium is subject to licensing and will go on sale via www.borotickets.co.uk on April 1st.