|Billy Joe Saunders|
23rd January 2012
Big-hitters Billy Joe Saunders and Matthew Hall will clash on Thursday 21st March at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, with Saunders’ British and Commonwealth Middleweight titles on the line, live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546).
Saunders had a successful 2012 picking up the Commonwealth crown with a stunning first round win over Tony Hill and making defences against Bradley Pryce and Jarrod Fletcher, before ending the year with a points win over Nick Blackwell to land the British title.
This year is set to be a big one for the 23-year-old when he looks to make the Lonsdale belt his own property with three defences and target the European title to hold the big three before moving to a world title shot.
The Hatfield traveller, a Beijing Olympian, has racked up a perfect 16-0 record since turning professional in 2009 and has specialised in explosive early finishes with all ten of his knockouts coming within two rounds.
Against Hall he also meets experience with the 28-year-old having won the Commonwealth Light-Middleweight title in 2009 and challenging for British and European titles in his 31 fights.
He’s pulled off upsets in the past, the most recent was a points win over the previously unbeaten Scottish prospect Kris Carslaw in Motherwell in November 2011.
Last year he took Sam Webb and Gary O’Sullivan the distance in twelve-rounders, just losing out on points decisions, before closing the year with a points win over Lee Noble in Manchester on the Freddie Flintoff undercard.
But Hall’s power-punching is still a threat with 16 of his 25 wins ending in KO and 12 of those were inside three rounds.
Saunders is looking forward to the test and predicts a battle against his Manchester rival.
“Hall is still one of the danger men in the division and can still whack,” Said Saunders.
“He derailed Carslaw who was unbeaten and he’ll be looking to do the same to me which puts the pressure on me, but I love it because the pressure makes me perform better and better,”
“We’re both big punchers, he can bang and so can I, the difference is will his chin be able to stand up to my big punches, we’ll find out on the night,”
“He’s strong, comes forward and constantly throwing plenty of punches so I’ve got to make sure I not get careless against him,”
“I believe that I’m leagues above Hall, though, and it will show on the night.”
Chief support on the card sees Penge welterweight Bradley Skeete make the first defence of his Southern Area title against Basingstoke’s Darryl Still. Skeete won the title in December when he stopped South London rival Chas Symonds in four rounds at the ExCeL London.
Tony Conquest’s rematch with WBO International Cruiserweight Champion Neil Dawson, which was due to take place at Wembley Arena on Saturday 16th March, will now take place on this show. Conquest suffered a shock first round loss to big-hitting Dawson in December at the ExCeL and will be out for revenge.
Also featuring on the undercard is some of Britain’s most talented young fighters including unbeaten Canning Town lightweight talent Billy Morgan; Cheshunt’s undefeated super-flyweight prospect Charlie Hoy; middleweight Tom Baker from Chingford and super-middleweight John Dignum from Bowers Gifford.
Finally, amateur star Simon Vallily from Middlesborough makes his professional debut in a four round cruiserweight contest. Vallily won heavyweight gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and in the previous year he captured the ABA Super-Heavyweight title.
Tickets priced at £40 and £60 are available from Frank Warren Promotions Box Office on 01992 550 888.