January 25, 2021
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Billy Joe Saunders outpoints Martin Murray in London, retains WBO 168-pound title

Billy Joe Saunders outpoints Martin Murray in London, retains WBO 168-pound title

photo with the aid of Mark Robinson
by means of Tom gray

It’s wasn’t Canelo, however it become work.

The unbeaten Billy Joe Saunders put the disappointment of that ill-fated mega-fight in the back of him by using retaining his WBO tremendous middleweight title for the second time with a 12-round unanimous determination win over countryman Martin Murray on the Wembley area in London on Friday. The legitimate scores have been one hundred twenty-109, a hundred and twenty-109 and 118-110.

Saunders, who is rated No. 5 by way of The Ring at 168 pounds, turned into a ways sharper than in his previous day out against Marcelo Coceres (KO 11) in l. a. final November. The tremendous-slick southpaw turned into in stunning combating shape and displayed the commonplace hallmarks: sharp punching, handspeed, angles and ring craft.

“i attempted to set a rhythm, but he’s a crafty ancient fox,” spoke of Saunders (30-0, 14 knockouts) in his submit-right interview with Sky activities. “I’ve been out a yr, however I likely needed the rounds to be sincere with you. He obtained through it and reasonable play to him. i am hoping he has a very good Christmas.”

The tempo became sluggish within the opening two classes, however Saunders claimed ring core and pumped a superb southpaw jab into the face of the challenger. the primary meaningful blows of the competition were a brace of sharp uppercuts, from both sides, in round three. Saunders isn’t familiar for his punching vigor, however, the damage will mount of he’s allowed to score flush.

The defending titleholder kept up the momentum within the fourth, extraordinary his man with a magnificent one-two. Moments later a torrid burst resulted in the challenger sprawling to the canvas and that might have been scored a knockdown. Murray, 38, is all the time healthy, and he’s widespread for his sturdiness, but Saunders’ work changed into now being felt and not seen. greater sharp assaults went unanswered in the fifth and Saunders turned into now having a box day

Murray, from St. Helens, become a world-category operator for a number of years and simplest came unstuck against the absolute best in his leading: Felix Sturm (controversial draw), Sergio Martinez (shut), Gennadiy Golovkin, George Groves and Arthur Abraham. He turned into capable of nail Saunders with the peculiar single shot but just couldn’t comply with up with a 2d section, and the savvy veteran was outscored and outsmarted within the majority of the classes.

With their power fingers on the identical side, each fighter’s heads got here collectively regularly and the pair shared phrases following some rough stuff on the inner. As had been the case right through, however, Saunders continued to land the eye-catching punches in the championship rounds and cruised to a cushty victory.

The 31-year old Saunders changed into to have confronted Canelo Alvarez in may additionally but that showdown fell aside because of the pandemic. regardless of Murray’s satisfactory and journey, this changed into considered via many as a marking time bout for the crafty left hander as a result of each guys are at distinct levels of their careers.

“Golovkin, Canelo, Callum Smith, Demetrius Andrade, it need to be one in every of them subsequent,” said Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn. “individuals discuss Billy Joe Saunders as doubtlessly the most useful pound-for-pound fighter in Britain, but we are able to under no circumstances name him that unless he’s mixing with that degree of opposition.”

Murray, an amazing ambassador for the activity, drops to 39-6-1 (17 KOs) and hinted that he may also retire for respectable.


Former world title challenger James Tennyson (28-3, 24 KOs) took half in a WBA light-weight eliminator and dutifully eliminated the previously unbeaten Josh O’Reilly in a single round. Tennyson, who lost by the use of fifth-circular stoppage to then IBF 130-pound titleholder Tevin Farmer in October 2018, is a well-known puncher and flew out of the blocks fast. Canada’s O’Reilly (16-1, 6 KOs) bravely received up from three heavy knockdowns, however referee Marcus McDonnell accurately halted the motion when Tennyson continued to tee off with strong power shots. The legit time was 2:14.

Tom gray is associate Editor for Ring magazine. follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing

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