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Jeff Saunders is back and aiming to make up lost time

Jeff Saunders
Action Images/Lee Smith
Jeff Saunders returns after 19 months out. Roy Kelly reports from ringside

BACK and aiming to make up for lost time – that’s Jeff Saunders who, having just won probably the most important “victory” of his career, made a successful return to his evening job at the Lancastrian Suite.

The unbeaten super-lightweight extended his winning run to 13 bouts when he triumphed in the battle of the Saunders, Jeff outpointing Cardiff’s Rhys Saunders over four entertaining rounds.

Just to see the Sedgefield boxer, younger brother of Bradley, inside the ropes again is a testament to his determination and patience – he was sidelined for over 19 months (since a 10-round points win over Steven Lewis) after having his licence suspended following a brain scan.

However, with the aid of some of the UK’s top consultants, Jeff is back and looking to be challenging for titles “by the back end of the year”.

Restraint is not often a word associated with the 27-year-old, who once stopped an opponent in 15 seconds, but Jeff was ultra-composed here.

There were some terrific lefts into the body and he brought his right through the middle to great effect but, overall, it was a superbly-paced performance. 

Rhys played his part and probably deserved a share of the last, but Jeff was a 40-36 winner from ref-for-the-night Ron Kearney.

It provided a good end to a disappointing Black Flash event, in association with Queensberry, as only three of the boys on the poster made it to the ring, with the late collapse of Joe Maphosa’s scheduled eight-rounder particularly galling. 

Yet those fans of Jamie Bates and Michael Watson in the packed house went home happy.

Decorated South Durham amateur Watson had, like Sedgefield neighbour Jeff, not boxed since November 2017, but the cruiser looked good in defeating Liverpool’s Genadij Krajevskij 40-36.

The greater aggression from Lanchester light-heavy debutant Bates earned him a 39-38 win over Manchester-based Portuguese southpaw Yailton Neves.

The Verdict Great to see Saunders back but a three four-rounders show was not the most auspicious night for the promoters or NE boxing.

Jeff Saunders (154 1/2lbs), 13-0 (6), w pts 4 Rhys Saunders (155 3/4lbs), 3-18-1 (1);  Michael Watson (200 1/2lbs), 2-0 (1), w pts 4 Genadij Krajevskij(179 3/4lbs), 0-7; Jamie Bates (177 1/2lbs), 1-0, w pts 4 Yailton Neves (176 1/2lbs), 4-15 (2).

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