Billy Joe Saunders
Name: Billy Joe Saunders
Born: 1989-08-30 (Age:26)
Birthplace: Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Hometown: Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Height: 5′ 11″ / 180cm
Boxing Record: click
Trainer: Jimmy Tibbs
Promoter: Frank Warren
"Caravan Kid" Saunders lives with his family on a travelers' encampment near Hatfield, Hertfordshire and fights for Hoddesdon ABC. Originally from Cheshunt, Billy Joe Saunders is the great-grandson of one of Britain's most famous gypsy bare-knuckle champions, Absolom Beeney. His father, Tom, a former amateur, also admits to being involved in a bare-knuckle scrap once "to sort things out, the way the travelling community does."
The southpaw won his first 49 amateur fights at senior level in a row winning the Commonwealth Championships 2007 and the Strandya Cup 2008 edging out Cuban Carlos Banteaux.
In 2008 Saunders qualified for the Beijing Olympics in the Welterweight division at the age of 18. Saunders qualified at the Euopean area qualifier in Pescara, Italy. He beat European champion Andrey Balanov and Kakhaber Zhvania, he lost his semi to Oleksandr Stretskyy before beating the Slovakian, Pavol Hlavacka for the all-important third spot. He will go to Beijing as the first person from the British Romany Gypsy community to qualify for the games
Olympic Games Results
2008 (as a welterweight)
Following the 2008 Beijing Olympics Saunders turned pro with Frank Warren. He racked up 10 straight wins before getting his first title fight in November 2011 against Southern Area middleweight champion Gary Boulden. Saunders won the fight by a 10 round unanimous decision. 5 months later Saunders got his fight major title fight when he challenged Tony Hill for the vacant Commonwealth middleweight title at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He won the fight by TKO in round 1. Saunders defended his title twice, defeating former champion Bradley Pryce by UD12 & undefeated (12-0) former Olympian Jarrod Fletcher by TKO 2, before fighting for the vacant British middleweight title against English champion Nick Blackwell. Saunders won the fight, which doubled as a third Commonwealth title defence, by a competitive 12 round unanimous decision.
Following a routing double title defence against experienced Matthew Hall Saunders faced what was arguably his toughest test to date against undefeated (16-0) Irishman Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan who was highly ranked by the WBO. He won the fight by wide unanimous decision and picked up the vacant WBO International middleweight title and a high ranking with the WBO (World Boxing Organisation). Just 2 months later Saunders defended his British & Commonwealth titles against undefeated Matchroom fighter John Ryder (15-0). The fight headlined the first boxing event at the Copper Box Arena in London and Saunders won a very tight unanimous decision to retain his belts.
Following the Ryder win Saunders did not fight for 10 months but returned in July 2014 against undefeated European Union champion Emanuele Blandamura (22-0) at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester. The fight which was elevated to main event status following the collapse of the Tyson Fury - Dereck Chisora fight was sanctioned for the vacant European middleweight title. Saunders knocked out the Italian with a body shot in round 8 and was now the British, Commonwealth and European middleweight champion and he defended all three belts in his next fight against undefeated (18-0) Chris Eubank Jr, the son of former 2-Weight world champion Chris Eubank. The highly anticipated bout, in which Saunders was taking on his fourth straight undefeated opponent, took place in November 2014 at the ExCel Arena in London as chief support to the rescheduled Tyson Fury - Dereck Chisora rematch. It was also sanctioned as a final eliminator for the WBO World middleweight title which Saunders had the chance to fight for but turned down in order to face Eubank. Saunders started the fight well winning many of the early round but Eubank came on strong in the second half to make it extremely competitive. After 12 hard fought rounds Saunders edged a tight split points decision to retain his titles and book a shot at the WBO World middleweight title. The win also saw Saunders win the Lonsdale belt outright by defending the British title for a third time.
Following the Eubank win Saunders was due to face Irish World Champion Andy Lee who had won the World title following Saunders decision to pass on a shot to face Eubank but he accepted step aside money from former champion Peter Quillin's camp to allow their fighter to face Lee first on the condition that the winner would defend against Saunders. During the build up to the Lee-Quillin fight Saunders was offered the chance to face Hassan N'Dam for the vacant IBF World middleweight title but he rejected it favour of waiting for his shot at the WBO title. Saunders was expected to face Lee in the Summer of 2015 for the title but as Lee was injured in his draw with Quillin he was allowed an extension. Saunders came close to fighting Eubank in a rematch but it failed to materialise as Eubank was not willing to give up the interim WBA belt which he had won following the Saunders defeat. Saunders will fight in Manchester in July and is expected to face Lee for the title later in the year when the Irishman has recovered.
BBBoC Southern Area middleweight title
Commonwealth (British Empire) middleweight title
BBBoC British middleweight title
WBO International middleweight title
EBU (European) middleweight title