Saunders: I’ll Dethrone Smith as King of 168
Billy Joe Saunders feels he is the best boxer in the super middleweight division and that he is the one who can beat Callum Smith.
In May, Saunders defeated Shefat Isufi to claim the vacant WBO super middleweight championship. This came months after Saunders’ near three-year run as WBO middleweight champion came to an end after testing positive for oxilofrine in late 2018.
Now, while there is always the possibility Saunders isn’t done at middleweight, he appears to have a mission of becoming the best at 168. And that will start by aiming for a unification bout with Smith, who holds the WBA (Super) super middleweight title.
“I think Callum is a brilliant fighter,” Saunders said. “He’s done very, very well in his career, he’s a good puncher, a good boxer, he’s got all the attributes you need to be a world champion, but if you put me in the ring with someone who is of the same level as me or a level above and I’ll rise. That’s the reason why I want these big fights –– it’s sink or swim –– to see whether I can raise my game to where I think I can because if I can then I know I’ve got the beating of all of them.”
Smith won his WBA title, and title of consensus best super middleweight in the world, by winning the World Boxing Super Series, defeating Erik Skoglund, Nieky Holzken and George Groves to win the tournament. Smith retained the WBA title in June by finishing Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam as part of the undercard for Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr.
Smith’s next fight is expected to come within the next month or so; meanwhile, Saunders, who recently signed to Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, will have his next fight announced next week.
“People look at Callum and he would be favorite going into the fight [against me], he’s a great fighter and I’ve got a lot of respect for him and his family, but I genuinely believe I’ve got the beating of Callum Smith and any other super-middleweight in the division,” Saunders said.
Saunders added that this move to super middleweight can also help in his previous pursuit of a showdown with Canelo Alvarez or Gennadiy Golovkin. Alvarez holds both the WBA (Super) middleweight title and the WBA (Regular) super middleweight title. GGG had a successful super middleweight debut in June.
“This move is going to benefit me massively. Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing can put me right out on the branch for those big fights,” Saunders said. “I’m on Golovkin and Canelo’s turf. I’ve made this move to make them fights because I’m sick of hearing their [expletive] excuses. Those fights make financial sense and they make sense because we’re on the same network.”
Original Story: Boxing Scene