Matchroom Boxing released a statement on Wednesday confirming the opponent for Billy Joe Saunders’ debut with the company.
Saunders, the WBO super middleweight title holder, ‘amicably’ left long-time promoter Frank Warren in order to make the move to arch-rival Eddie Hearn.
At the time, Hearn promised Saunders a huge fight would be in the offing. Also that BJS would now move ‘into the big league’.
Fans have since been scratching their heads as Saunders was announced on the undercard of a YouTuber fight against an also-ran with no proven record.
Hearn had stated Saunders would battle and ‘American super middleweight’ – only to secure an Argentinian middleweight.
“Billy Joe Saunders will make the first defence of his WBO Super-Middleweight World title against undefeated Argentinian Marcelo Esteban Coceres.
“The fight takes place on the blockbuster KSI vs. Logan Paul 2 show at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Saturday November 9.
“KSI vs Logan Paul 2 live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK,” said the official Matchroom information.
“Saunders (28-0, 13 KOs) became a two-weight World Champion with a shutout points win over Shefat Isufi in Stevenage earlier this year, outclassing his Serbian opponent over 12 rounds to add the WBO 168lbs crown to his collection.
“The Hatfield star is on the verge of securing mega fights with the elite fighters of the 160 and 168lbs divisions after signing a promotional deal with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing and knows that a slip up against Coceres would be disastrous.
“Coceres (28-0-1, 15 KOs), from San Jorge, is undefeated in 29 fights since turning professional in 2012 and the 28-year-old has won numerous titles at Super-Welter and Middleweight, most recently picking up the WBO Latino and WBA Fedebol Middleweight titles.”
Saunders gave his initial thoughts and is just looking to impress.
“I’m really looking forward to fighting in LA and making my professional American debut and my first fight under the Matchroom umbrella on DAZN and Sky Sports,” said Saunders.
“Marcelo Esteban Coceres is a tough, world-class operator, an unbeaten fighter. I certainly feel the pressure to outperform him and look good on such a massive platform.
“Training is going very well, I just have to stay focused and get the job done.”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, believes Saunders could grow his fanbase on the card.
“We are very excited to have the outstanding Billy Joe Saunders back on Sky – and what a night to make his re-appearance!
“This is a real chance for our growing sport to reach a new audience with world class fighters in action before the YouTube stars KSI and Logan Paul clash. Bring on November 9th!”
Since announcing the bout, Hearn faces plenty of questions regarding the whole situation.
“Welcome to the big leagues.”
“Where have you wheeled this guy in from?”
“Fighting another Romanian postman…Come on Billy lad start stepping up with your opponents now it’s getting really boring.”
“BRING BACK FRANK WARREN PLEASE!!”
“On the undercard of a you tube 6 rounder. I can see why you joined matchroom.”
Before those complaints were posted, Hearn had already stated something big was in the pipeline for next year.
“I can’t wait to see Billy Joe shine stateside and what a huge platform to do it,” said Hearn.
“He is right in the mix for all the big fights in 2020. But he can’t slip up here. If he can make a statement against Coceres then I truly believe he will land a monster in the first half of next year.”
General sale tickets for KSI vs Logan Paul 2 featuring Billy Joe Saunders are available to purchase now via www.axs.com