Saunders will be Lee’s first defence if he claims WBO World title
IF Andy Lee claims the WBO World title with victory over Matt Korobov on December 13 his first defence will be against Billy Joe Saunders after the English fighter out pointed Chris Eubank Jr in London on Saturday night.
In a close and thrilling chief support, Saunders handed bitter rival Chris Eubank Jnr. his first career defeat with a split decision to retain his British, Commonwealth and European Middleweight titles.
The Hatfield star also made the Lonsdale belt his to keep with the third and most satisfying defence of the title, plus it was a final eliminator for the WBO World Middleweight title.
Saunders started well in the early rounds with Eubank Jnr. struggling to cope with his quick feet and accurate jab, but Eubank did have some success with some strong uppercuts.
Into the sixth, Eubank Jnr. started to get to work throwing in plenty of hard body shots and uppercuts that dragged Saunders into a brawl for the mid-part of the fight.
In the penultimate round Eubank Jnr. landed some hard shots that Saunders shook off, but it was the champions earlier better work that kept him his titles by a close margin.
Saunders, who defeated the fourth undefeated opponent in a row with his victory, said, “It was a hard, gruelling, fight but I had the toughness and heart to come through and show that I am a real champion and the real deal,”
“I’ve still got lots to learn, I’m only 25, and I’ll listen to my trainer Jimmy Tibbs and my promoter Frank Warren as they’ve got me to this point in my career and we’re now within touching distance of the WBO World title,”