Saunders (right) easily defeated David Lemieux in December. Photo by AP
Unbeaten southpaw Billy Joe Saunders has said WBO super middleweight titleholder Gilberto Ramirez must face him or relinquish his world title.
The Mexican boxer-puncher disposed of Tommy Karpency in his light heavyweight debut at the weekend and stated afterwards that his future is at 175 pounds.
Saunders, who is still rated No. 3 by The Ring at middleweight, meets German-based Albanian Shefat Isufi at Lamex Stadium in Hertfordshire, England on May 18 for a WBO “interim” super middleweight belt. If Ramirez were to give up his super middleweight title, then Saunders-Isufi would be upgraded to full championship status.
“I am raring to go for Ramirez, but if he doesn’t want to face me then give up the title and let me fight for the full championship,” said Saunders (27-0, 13 knockouts). “If it’s not going to happen against me after my ‘interim’ title fight, then I would rather him say now.
“(Ramirez) has said he can make (168 pounds) for Callum Smith so I don’t see the problem with myself. If he can make (168 pounds) for Callum, he can make (168 pounds) for me.
“I understand the rules of boxing. If you haven’t got the right style, opponents may not want to know you.
“His promoter Bob Arum has a good working relationship with Frank Warren and MTK, and he has most probably had a conversation with Ramirez. They know they can make the fight, but do they want it?
“Personally, I don’t think Ramirez will go ducking anybody, but unless he 100-percent knows he’s good at the weight, I can’t see him taking the chance of fighting me.
“My way of winning fights is slick boxing so that takes a lot of steam out of the opponent, especially if you’re weight-drained.”
Saunders who is currently training in Manchester added: “I will carry more power (at super middleweight). I’ve been sparring well, my timing is there, my speed is still there, but I have got to perform at the weight.”
Saunders-Isufi will be broadcast live and exclusively on BT Sport in the U.K.
Tickets for Saunders v Isufi at Stevenage FC are now on sale via www.borotickets.co.uk and are priced as below:
£200 – Hospitality
£150 – Pitch
£100 – Pitch
£75 – Pitch
£50 – Stand
£40 – Stand
Information courtesy of a press release issued by Frank Warren PR.
Tom Gray is Associate Editor for The Ring and a member of the ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
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