WBO Middleweight Champion, Billy Joe Saunders, will have his dreams of facing the winner of Canelo vs. Golovkin crushed by Avtandil Khurtsidze according to Lou DiBella.
Khurtsidze, who is promoted by DiBella, will square off against Saunders at the Copper Box Arena in London on July 8th.
The dangerous Georgian, claimed his spot as the WBO mandatory contender when he stopped Tommy Langford in the fifth round of their contest on April 30th.
Khurtsidze’s victory over Langford was his sixth successive knockout victory in what has become an impressive run of form.
By his own admission, Billy Joe struggled in his last outing against Khurtsidze’s stable mate, Arthur Akavov, and DiBella is certain Khurtsidze will give Saunders a lot more to worry about on fight night.
“Billy Joe is a very skilled fighter, but you never know which Billy Joe is going to show up,” said DiBella. “The fight with Akavov was a close, competitive fight. No one predicted that and Billy Joe hasn’t looked the best of himself in a long time.
“The one thing about Khurtsidze is that he’s hungrier than Billy Joe, he’s relentless with his attacks and capable of doing damage at any stage of the fight.
“Khurtsidze could be down by four or five rounds and still mount offensive attacks that could win him the fight.
“He is dangerous from the first bell until the end of the 12th round.”
For the victor on July 8th, the spoils of war will include a lucrative unification contest with the winner of Canelo vs. Golovkin, and the chance to become the undisputed World Middleweight Champion.
While Saunders had hoped to fight the Kazakh star this summer, the deal fell through with Golovkin opting to fight Canelo instead.
“I don’t think missing out on the Golovkin fight will affect Billy Joe. He knows the importance of this fight,” said DiBella. “If he does beat Khurtsidze, there is a big, big money fight there for him.
“I give Billy Joe enough credit that he understands the importance of this fight and will be prepared and ready.”