Light-welterweight ace Bradley Saunders (12-0) is back in action following a long layoff from injury on September 19th at the Liverpool Olympia on the undercard of Stephen Smith’s World title eliminator, live on Sky Sports.
The undefeated 140-pounder from County Durham now residing in Marbella has not fought for six months, his last fight resulting in a fifth round stoppage over tough Frenchman Stephane Benito (22-18-3) at the Ice Arena in Hull on March 7th.
Saunders said of his return to the ring, “It’s brilliant, obviously I’ve been out for obvious reasons but I’m made up with getting out in September, I’ve had my break and I’m all good to go now.”
The 29-year-old former WBO Inter-Continental light-welterweight champion suffered a hand injury just days ahead of his scheduled Commonwealth title challenge against current champion Dave ‘Rocky’ Ryan (17-8) back in April this year.
The former Beijing 2008 Olympian ruptured tendons and ligaments in his right hand during training, subsequently having to undergo immediate surgery to repair the damage.
Of his injury, the Sedgefield boxer commented, “The hand is brilliant! I’ve been on the pads with Danny Vaughn and all the lads in the MGM Gym were watching me and I was hitting the pads really hard and felt completely comfortable in there.
“It actually feels in better shape than when I had it done before to my other hand.”
No stranger to hand injuries, in December 2012 Saunders damaged his left hand in the fifth round of his fifth professional fight when defeating the only opponent to take him past six rounds – MGM stablemate and Irish light-middleweight champion Peter McDonagh.
Hand specialist Mike Hayton operated on both hands on two separate occasions at The Alexandra Hospital in Cheshire.
Saunders praised the surgeon, “Had it done by Mike Hayton of Manchester who is one of the best, if not the best.”
Hand injuries are commonplace in boxing but Saunders explained how it was always just a matter of time before his tools needed correcting after decades of wear and tear.
“I took fights even though my hands weren’t great but if you don’t fight then you don’t get paid and they were always gonna go,” said the Sedgefield boxing star.
Two injuries later and half a year’s respite has left many boxing fans curious as to whether the recent plights could affect his next performance and long-term career being just six months away from his 30th birthday.
“Since you saw me last, well, I’m always me in there and do my job,” he assured. “Danny Vaughn who trains me now knows me as good as anyone and I’ll be a bit more composed, I’ve rushed it before but I’m more patient now.”
Of his future plans, he stated, “I’d like to fight twice more this year but it’s down to whatever Eddie Hearn and my manager Daniel Kinahan have in store for me, I’ve already said I’ll fight anybody.”
The disappointment that followed the cancelled Commonwealth title challenge against Dave Ryan has been replaced with excitement as the pair fight just one week apart in September.
Saunders is now due to return on the undercard of Stephen Smith’s world title eliminator at Liverpool’s Olympia on September 19.
Ryan is still the Commonwealth champion, a belt he defends against John Wayne Hibbert seven days before Saunders’ comeback. It will be the third meeting between the pair, and Ryan has won the previous two.