Billy Joe Saunders retained his WBO Super-Middleweight World Title with a dominant unanimous decision win over St Helens veteran Martin Murray to stay on course for a huge unification battle with the winner of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez vs. Callum Smith next year.
The unbeaten 31-year-old dominated from the opening round with his superior ring skills as Murray fell short in his fifth World Title attempt, losing out on the judge’s scorecards with scores of 120-109, 120-109 and 118-110 at The SSE Arena, Wembley.
Billy Joe Saunders retains his WBO super-middleweight belt after sealing a unanimous decision win over Martin Murray with scores of 120-109, 120-109 and 118-110.
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) December 4, 2020
“I wasn’t really happy with that performance,” Saunders told Matchroom. “I’m not taking anything away from Martin, he came with a good game plan. He got through it. He tucked up and survived well. I can only be a bit critical of myself because I had a bit of ring rust. My jab was there but there was just that bit of snap missing. I was trying to look for stuff when naturally it’s there.
“When you’re in a training camp getting ready for Canelo Alvarez and you’re in the biggest fight of your life, you’ve got that fear factor and everything there, and then the pandemic came and I can only be thankful to be out this year. But then you’re back in camp and it’s a defence against Martin Murray, I was pencilled in to fight him twice in 2018. It was sort of like a hard kick in the teeth. But look, I’ve got to be thank my management team MTK that I’m even out this year.
“It is what it is, and we move on. I’m 30-0 and still unbeaten and still World Champion. I’ve been World Champion now since 2015. People can run my performance down but let’s make the big fights, because it’s certainly not me turning them away. Eddie knows that I’m always there to sign. I had the Canelo fight signed and it fell through, that’s nobody’s fault.
“A big well done to my lads who boxed on the show tonight. Lewie Edmondson and Donte Dixon did well. Martin was a cunning old fox, he knew what he was doing and he had the ref on his side, he had the ref eating out of his hand. Fair play to him. I learnt a lot from him to be honest. Perhaps everything happens for a reason and I learnt a hell of a lot from the fight.
“Fair play to Callum Smith and I really do wish him all of the success in that fight. I think he’s got the tools to do the job. Canelo would have been training since May for this fight. He would have had Smith in his eyesight from day one. It’s been sprung on him at five or six weeks. They’re very clever in the way they work. If Smith has done his homework and prepared well then I give him a good chance of winning the fight. We are pushing for big fights constantly. After the Canelo fight I want to know my next date. I’m not getting any younger and I want to show my full potential.”
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) December 5, 2020
Photos by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing