EBM News
EBM News

Saunders wants ‘big names’ after outclassing Murray to retain title

London, December 5: Billy Joe Saunders will target the big names in the super-middleweight division in 2021 after retaining his WBO title against Martin Murray. The all-British showdown went the distance at an empty Wembley Arena, Saunders recording a landslide points triumph as he extended his unbeaten record to 30-0. Murray was game throughout but was unable to pin down the elusive champion, who was denied what appeared to be a knockdown in the fourth round when the referee ruled a push.

Saunders’ only problem was a warning in the eighth for a low blow, producing the classier work throughout to get a unanimous decision – two judges scored it 120-109 in his favour, with the other card reading 118-110. Still, the winner was not too impressed with his own performance even after a prolonged absence from the ring, in part due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. “I’ve been out over the year now, and this was like boxing in a cemetery,” he told Sky Sports. “I like to perform for the crowd, get up for it. “I tried to set a rhythm, but he’s a cunning old fox.

He just knew how to tie you up well. I guess I’m still getting luckier, every fight I get. “Let’s see if I can make a big fight, get up for it and put a shift in.” Saunders was close to signing for a fight with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez earlier this year – promoter Eddie Hearn revealed the COVID-19 situation scuppered the deal at the last minute – but the Mexican remains a target for 2021, provided he gets past Callum Smith on December 19. “Everyone wants Canelo – I hope Smith beats him, I hope as a fellow Brit he does it. But, if not, that’s a fight I want in the new year,” the 31-year-old said. “Let’s get the big names out there – obviously Canelo and Smith are fighting, and there’s [Demetrius] Andrade. I need a big fight to get up for it.” Murray, meanwhile, admitted retirement was likely at 38 after a fifth failed attempt at winning a world title, albeit he did add: “Never say never”.