Saunders wants unification with Smith if he wins WBO belt
Saunders says he has a lot of respect for Smith, but believes he can beat him.
Billy Joe Saunders is set to fight for the vacant WBO super middleweight title on Saturday, and is expected to not have much trouble winning it, as he’s facing Shefat Isufi, a lightly-regarded Serbian fighter based in Germany.
If Saunders (27-0, 13 KO) wins as expected, it will make him a two-weight titleholder, and he says he would then like to unify with WBA 168-pound titleholder Callum Smith:
“I’ll get my team on the phone and if we can do that fight, then let’s make it. He’s a brilliant fighter at 168 and I’d be willing to sign for a unification the day after I fight. He’s done very well, he’s achieved so much and I have a lot of respect for him. But it’s a fight I believe I can win. He will believe his size will play a big part in it, but I haven’t been beaten on British soil since I was 13. I have a good record here and I believe I can beat any super middleweight or middleweight in the world.”
Smith (25-0, 18 KO) won the WBA belt last September in Saudi Arabia, stopping and retiring George Groves, which also won him the World Boxing Super Series tournament.
The 29-year-old “Mundo” is now considered the top man at 168 pounds, and he’s set to defend his belt against former middleweight titleholder Hassan N’dam on June 1 in New York.
Smith-Saunders is definitely an intriguing fight on paper. Whatever you think of Billy Joe Saunders, when he’s focused and on his game, he is a slick, difficult southpaw who figures to give anyone problems.
There is some promotional issue, possibly — Smith is with Matchroom/Sky and Saunders with Frank Warren/BT Sport — but if the deal is right, I don’t think the rival promoters would prevent it from happening. Making the deal right is the question, because it’s arguably the biggest fight in the division and one that would do good business in the UK.
Bad Left Hook will have live coverage of Saunders vs Isufi this Saturday at 2:30 pm ET, streaming live on ESPN+