December 15, 2017
December 15, 2017
Billy Joe Saunders

Action Images/Reuters/Reuters/Tony O'Brien

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UNBEATEN WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders and heavy-handed challenger David Lemieux both made weight for their middleweight clash tomorrow night (December 16) at Place Bell in Laval, Canada, but only after Lemieux was forced to weigh in twice by Saunders’ trainer, Dominic Ingle.

Following Lemieux’s first trip to the scales – which was announced as a successful one – an animated Ingle reacted angrily. Seemingly unconvinced that Lemieux had actually made the weight, he demanded that the Canadian weigh in again. With Billy Joe’s promoter, Frank Warren, watching on intently, Team Saunders were content that all was above board when Lemieux hit the scales for a second time.

After Lemieux had weighed in, Saunders goaded the Montreal man, before stepping onto the scales himself. Like Lemieux, the Hatfield southpaw came in dead on the middleweight limit (160lbs), although both men had to strip naked in order to do so.

FOR THE IN-DEPTH PREVIEW OF SAUNDERS-LEMIEUX, INCLUDING OUR OFFICIAL PREDICTION, DOWNLOAD/PICK UP A COPY OF THIS WEEK’S BOXING NEWS. 

 

December 15, 2017
December 15, 2017
Billy Joe Saunders

Action Images/Reuters/Tony O'Brien

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WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders has vowed to put David Lemieux ‘out like a candle’ when the bitter rivals square off at the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec this weekend, live on BT Sport HD2 and BoxNation.

Hatfield star Saunders will be fighting overseas for the first time in his professional career when he makes the third defence of his crown against the hard-hitting Lemieux in his own backyard, and is unfazed by fighting in hostile territory.

“I’m a fighting man, a gypsy warrior, and I’ll travel anywhere on the planet to defend my world title,” said Saunders. “I’m heading into the lion’s den this weekend, Lemieux will have the whole arena behind him but that won’t make one ounce of a difference, I’ll thrive off their hate for me. Once that bell goes it’s just me and him stood in that ring, he’s is for one hell of a tough night.

“I know I will have 13,000 or 14,000 people against me on Saturday night but I can perform under that kind of pressure. I’ve boxed since I was 16 all over the world, that was as an amateur but you still get that same fear factor, winning or losing, and travelling away to fights.”

Former middleweight title holder Lemieux has promised to ‘do everyone a favour’ by ‘getting rid’ of Saunders. The Montreal native boasts 33 big knockouts from 38 career wins and is eager to ‘do damage’ to Saunders, telling journalists at Tuesday’s media workout that the Champion will ‘hit the floor’.

Billy Joe Saunders

Hertfordshire hitter Saunders is in a typically confident mood heading into Saturday’s showdown, even promising Lemieux his entire fight purse if the Canadian manages to knock him out.

He said,”Lemieux shows a lot of heart when he comes to fight but the real truth is, I’m too slick and too good for him. People bang on about him being this monster puncher but you can’t hit what you can’t see – we’re going to play a game of eat the jab and then I’m going to put him out like a candle. I’m in this game to take on the best and once I’ve wiped out ‘little legs’ I’m coming for Canelo and Golovkin.”

December 15, 2017
December 15, 2017
Anthony Yarde

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Fourteen fights, 14 wins, 13 stoppages and a top five world rating; all achieved in just 19 months and 28 rounds as a pro. The core stats reveal all you need to know about Anthony Yarde’s meteoric rise through the light-heavyweight ranks.

Following Saturday’s explosive four round demolition of Serbia’s tungsten tough Nikola Sjekloca, the 26 year old Beast from the East (London) reflects and speculates with Glynn Evans head of his return to the Copper Box Arena on February 10. 

You’ve enjoyed a fabulous 2017, collecting three belts and registering five explosive stoppage wins in just 13 rounds combined. What have been the key factors that have enabled you to achieve that?

I’ve achieved what I have this year by just focusing on myself, living in my own bubble, sticking to the basics and working hard. 85% of my success is down to grafting and 15% is down to talent. And you can lose talent if you just rely on it and don’t work hard to sustain and improve it.

The 15% God given talent that I have is my mentality and the speed that I have for my size. My speed is far more important than the power. It’s all about being able to land the heavy shots and I’m able to do that because I’m so quick.

The Sjekloca gig represented a massive step up in class. Were you apprehensive about that step up?

Not at all. I feel every opponent represents a different challenge and sometimes those that are supposed to be easier prove the hardest to impress against because they just tuck up and go into survival mode.

For once, I was facing an opponent who genuinely believed that he could win. His recent form was very good. In his previous fight, he drew with Robert Stieglitz, the European champion, over in Germany. He arrived with plenty of ambition. That provided opportunities for me to exploit.

Anthony Yarde

What did it mean to register a spectacular stoppage victory over him?

I’m not really into proving anything to others, I’m just about proving things to myself but it was fantastic. It sent out a big statement to the division. I’ve accelerated through the ranks relatively quickly.

I think I’m already one of the hardest punchers in the light-heavyweight division, at least as hard, if not harder than [Sergey] Kovalev, [Artur] Beterbiev and [Adonis] Stevenson. The raw power is either there or it’s not and mine has been evident from the very beginning. This year, believe me, I’ve not always been digging with maximum power because I’ve been looking to gain a few crucial extra minutes in the ring.

What are your aspirations for 2018? Domestic and continental titles? World eliminators?

If you’d asked me the same question at the end of 2016, I doubt I’d have said I’d be world top five and holding three title belts so I’m not about to put a lid on anything.Whatever is meant to happen will happen but I’m not in any rush.

My job is to keep my head down, work hard and enjoy the journey. When it comes to career moves, ask my manager Tunde Ajayi and my promoter Frank Warren. Right now, I’m still a pretty inexperienced boxer and a very inexperienced businessman. I abide by the saying: ‘If you put your hands on too many pots, you won’t have control of any pot.’ I leave everyone in my team to do their job. I just focus on the boxing.

You’re gradually creeping higher up the card on the major bills. How do you feel about the prospect of headlining at The Copper Box or O2 next year?

Well I sort of topped the card at The Copper Box by default in July, after Billy Joe (Saunders) was forced to pull out at late notice. So I think I’m probably quite close to that, provided I keep winning.

It’s most definitely what I want; to be the key face on the posters, the main event and eventually pay-per-view. When I started out, I didn’t say: ‘I hope to do those things or I’d like to do those things….’ Those were things that I said: ‘I’m going to achieve, I will do….’

You have to have aspirations. Those are the things that keep me training so hard, keep me so focused.

December 15, 2017
December 15, 2017
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Video: Showtime Sports

December 15, 2017
December 15, 2017
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Video: Showtime

December 15, 2017
December 15, 2017
Billy Joe Saunders vs David Lemieux fight time

Photo par Vincent Ethier/EOTTM

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WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders went head to head with challenger David Lemieux at the final press conference ahead of their clash on Saturday (December 16).

Saunders is certain he’s better than ever. “I’ve been in the ring 25 times now, and in a lot of those fights, I’ve been the underdog, bigtime. And in those fights, I was outboxed 60 per cent of the time. When you don’t love boxing and you’re still winning, and you look back and wonder, ‘How did I do that? How did I get through that?’ But when you do find a love for it, and you have good people working around you, people who make you happy – there’s a saying, a happy fighter is a thankful fighter. And I haven’t been this happy since my amateur days. For the last six or seven months, I’ve never been happier. I’m excited to get into the ring. I’m excited to get into the ring and eager to put on a classic display. Because not only am I mixing it with a boxer who is in the top five, but I’ll be fighting in front of great fighters I’ve watched as a kid, like Bernard Hopkins and Oscar De La Hoya,” Saunders said.

“David has to come from round one and try to knock me out. Because when he’s eating fresh air, he’s very injury prone. But what I don’t want from David’s team are excuses. David is a good fighter, he’s mixed it with [Gennady] Golovkin at a very elite level. But some boxers are not quite enough to be at that elite level. And David, you’re not quite good enough. Am I good enough? We’ll soon see. In my own mind, I know I can deal with it, and then with Golovkin or Canelo, we’ll see where I really am.”

Lemieux hit back. “The time to talk is over and now it’s time to let the fists do the talking and show you who the real world champion is. A lot of things are going to happen on Saturday, but my promise to you is that by the time I will leave Place Bell, I will have the WBO belt on me. I will be world champion. I’m ready to give you guys a great evening of boxing. Saunders made a lot of promises, about his chin, about his purse, and that’s something I haven’t forgotten,” he said.

David Lemieux

“Let’s see for how long you will be able to back up those words and put them together again this Saturday. I’m well aware of your abilities, I hope you are aware of mine. I’m not just a puncher. People like to see blood and big punches, and that’s what they’ll see on Saturday.”

December 15, 2017
December 15, 2017
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Video: Top Rank