Undefeated WBO Middleweight Champion, Billy Joe Saunders will defend his crown against his domestic rival, Martin Murray, on April 14th. The card’s co-main event will see Terry Flanagan move up to lightweight in order to face Maurice Hooker for the vacant WBO crown.
Saunders will return to home soil hoping to replicate the success he found in his last title defence, against Canada’s David Lemieux.
A win for Saunders is likely to secure a showdown with the winner of the highly anticipated rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. With such high stakes, Saunders cannot afford to overlook Murray.
“Martin Murray is a good fighter, and I have got the greatest of respect for him,” Saunders said. “But he’s in the way of what I’m aiming for this year, and that is to become Undisputed Middleweight World Champion. He’s coming try and win my world title, and I’m sure it’s going to be a good fight!”
While Murray has yet to secure a world title, he has contested four world title bouts in his career, three of which featured dubious scorecards from the judges, and the St. Helen’s man knows what is at stake if he can snatch Billy Joe’s crown.
“I rate Billy Joe as a fighter, he’s one of slickest out there, and he is coming off of a great win and will be very confident,” Murray said. “But I’m very confident; this is my time to become World Champion, as it’s the only thing I have left to do.
“I’ve fought everyone, and in my opinion, at Middleweight, I have only one genuine loss which is against Gennady Golovkin who is the best out there.
“I don’t count Martinez or Sturm as genuine losses because of the scorecards. But this time around, in my first World Title fight at home, as we are both British fighters fighting on home soil, I know the best man on the night will get the win and leave the arena as World Champion.”
In the chief support, two undefeated warriors, Terry Flanagan and Maurice Hooker will square off for the WBO World Super Lightweight Championship, with Flanagan aiming to claim a world title at a second weight class.
“Hooker is a very good unbeaten fighter, he fights on the back foot and looks to catch you from a distance,” Flanagan said. “However I’m very confident I’ll be able to deal with anything he throws at me to become a two-weight World Champion. Winning this fight will prove I’m a legitimate 140lb fighter I’ll be looking to unify the belts later in the year.”