By Keith Idec –

The WBO informed promoters for its middleweight champion, Billy Joe Saunders, and No. 1 contender Avtandil Khurtsidze on Thursday to begin negotiations for a title fight.

If Frank Warren, Saunders’ promoter, and Lou DiBella, Khurtsidze’s promoter, can’t come to an agreement within 10 days a purse bid will be ordered. The minimum bid for the Saunders-Khurtsidze fight would be $200,000, as per WBO rules for the middleweight division.

England’s Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) reportedly is interested in fighting Japan’s Ryota Murata (12-0, 9 KOs), the WBO’s No. 2-ranked contender at 160 pounds. A fight against Murata would be more lucrative for Saunders, particularly in Japan, but Khurtsidze would have to be compensated before agreeing to step aside and allow that fight to happen.

Khurtsidze has been adamant, though, that he wants to be Saunders’ next opponent.

Brooklyn’s Khurtsidze (32-2-2, 21 KOs) has been the No. 1 contender for Saunders’ championship for nearly 11 months, since he stopped previously undefeated Antoine Douglas (19-1-1, 13 KOs), of Burke, Virginia, in the 10th round March 5 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The 37-year-old Khurtsidze’s No. 1 ranking didn’t stop the WBO from skipping him last month and installing its 154-pound champion, Canelo Alvarez, as the mandatory challenger for Saunders.

An Alvarez-Saunders fight would’ve been much more lucrative for Saunders – and the WBO – but Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) ultimately agreed to face fellow Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs, 1 NC) on May 6 at an undetermined site. Khurtsidze’s representatives didn’t file an appeal of Alvarez’s installation as Saunders’ mandatory challenger because they were told the WBO would grant Khurtsidze a shot at Saunders if Alvarez decided to fight Chavez.

The 27-year-old Saunders has fought just once since he won the WBO 160-pound title from Ireland’s Andy Lee (34-3-1, 24 KOs), whom Saunders defeated by majority decision 13 months ago. The British southpaw beat Russia’s Artur Akavov (16-2, 7 KOs) by unanimous decision December 3 in Paisley, Scotland, but admitted after their 12-round fight that he performed poorly during his first fight in nearly a year.–113029?print_friendly=1


Undefeated WBO World Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders begins his reign with the opening defense of his title against “Mad” Max Bursak on Saturday April 30 at the Copper Box Arena, London.

Saunders headlines a triple-title fight card that features Ovill McKenzie challenging Dmytro Kucher for the Vacant European Cruiserweight title and British Featherweight Champion Ryan Walsh defending his title against James Tennyson.


WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders says the next time he steps on the pitch at Emirates Stadium in London, he wants to be fighting WBA/IBF/WBC (interim) middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin or Chris Eubank Jr.

“The next time I’m here I either want to be playing as Arsenal’s new signing or a more realistic option is to fight Golovkin or Eubank,” said Saunders. “Golovkin would be an tremendous fight for British boxing. Muhammad Ali fought Henry Cooper at Highbury so in this new millennium what better than a super-unification fight between me and Golovkin? I know he was at West Ham the other week, but the Emirates is the place it has to be at. As for Eubank Jr, he’s already had his backside kicked by me. What better than me kicking it again in front of 60,000 at Arsenal?”

billy-joe-saunder-lee_3390374                                                                                 Andy Lee (right) and Billy Joe Saunders trade blows during their bout

By Rory O’Callaghan –

Billy Joe Saunders is the new WBO world middleweight champion after defeating Andy Lee at the Manchester Arena on Saturday.

Saunders, 26, was awarded a close points decision by the judges to extend his unbeaten record to 23-0-KO12.

Defending champion Lee, who won the title against Matt Korobov in Las Vegas last year, was knocked down twice by Saunders in the third round – a 10-7 round which proved pivotal.

One of the judges scored the fight level at 113-113 but was overruled by the other two, who scored it 114-112 and 115-111 in favour of Saunders, giving the British fighter a majority decision victory.

The pair began the bout in tentative fashion with the first two rounds passing off without major incident.

The fight burst into life in the third round after Lee connected with a solid straight left. Saunders then caught his Irish opponent with a powerful right hook which floored the 31-year-old.

Lee looked vulnerable when he returned to his feet and was soon on the canvas again after Saunders connected with another hook.


The defending champion took the majority of the count and held on to survive the round. He then recovered to take the next round after some good work with the jab.

Saunders and Lee continued to trade subdued rounds as the fight slipped back into a tense standoff between two evenly matched fighters.

Both boxers seemed wary of the other fighter’s punching power and neither was able to connect with any telling blows in the final rounds.

“Andy Lee is a good champion, I beat a good champion here,” Saunders told BoxNation after the fight.

“But I used his power against him. When I was boxing him he got a little bit careless – dropping his lead hand and I caught him with the hook.

“I’m not going to start running my mouth but it was a good shot. With someone as fast as me you’ve got to keep your hands up – I’m not the biggest puncher in the world but this shows you that I can punch.

“Lee showed that he can be dangerous. He actually caught me on a shot when I tried to finish him. I thought, ‘I won’t rush’ and I got back to my boxing and recuperated.

“When I put him down twice I knew he had to come and that’s when I had all the time in the world.”


UK promoter Frank Warren has revealed that plans have been set in motion for the WBO World middleweight champion Andy Lee (34-2-1, 24 KO’s) to defend against his mandatory challenger Billy Joe Saunders (21-0, 11 KO’s) on September 5th in London, UK.

Speaking to iFL TV Warren said the proposed date should be confirmed soon and that he will be looking for a suitable outdoor arena in which to stage the bout.

“Yeah I think it deserves that, it’s a big fight. It’s a great fight. I mean, you look at Andy Lee and what he has done over the last few years. It’s marvellous what he’s done when you think he’s gone into every fight as the underdog and the old equaliser has taken everybody out.”

Lee’s last three fights have seen him claw back from severe deficits and emerge with the upper hand. He went down heavily in the first round against John Jackson in June last year and was under intense pressure in the fifth round when he pulled out a counter right hook that left his pursuer face down inhaling the canvas.

Six months later he was matched against the undefeated Russian Matt Korobov for the vacant WBO belt and was behind on points in a close contest until another right hook turned the tide for him.

He followed up with a sustained barrage that forced the referee to step between them, ending the contest in his favour.

His last fight finished in a draw against Peter Quillin, who vacated the belt Lee claimed against Korobov.

Again, he was down in the first and made the trip again in the third, but rallied back in a very tetchy affair to score his own knockdown in the seventh; a crucial contributor to being able to hold on to his belt as the judges could not separate them at the final bell.

Lee is on the best run of his career and looks to continue in the same vein against a young, undefeated southpaw who has been out of action since handing Chris Eubank Jr. his first pro defeat last November.

Saunders obtained the mandatory spot for Lee’s belt with that win but was given step aside money by Quillin’s representatives to allow the American ahead in the queue.

Now, his time has finally come around and instead of traveling to the States as the away fighter, he will likely get to fight close to home in front of a packed stadium of fans.

It looks like he made the right decision, and he will prepare for his first world title shot with a warm-up against an as yet unnamed opponent at the Velodrome in Manchester on July 11th( The plan is to shake off the cobwebs as well as a calf injury Warren says he picked up six weeks ago.

Lee is from Limerick in Ireland but spent a good chunk of his childhood in London, and Saunders’ accent indicates he is based somewhere near the capital

It will build into a significant enough event to warrant the hiring and booking of a huge venue. Then it is all up to the fighters to put on a good show.


Andy Lee admits that his first WBO middleweight world title defence against the unbeaten Peter Quillin next weekend in New York will be a tough task but he remains confident of victory.

The Limerick man (34-2-0) won the belt in December when he stopped Matt Korobov in the sixth round of their championship bout, which only happened because Quillin (31-0-0) had chosen to vacate the title.

Quillin is now a heavy favourite to reclaim the crown when he faces Lee at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday (early Sunday morning Irish time).

“This is very much a 50-50 fight. The winner of this will have a good claim to call himself the best middleweight in the world,” Lee told RTÉ Sport.

“He’s a very good boxer. He’s a former champion. It’s a hard fight, no doubt about it, but it’s one I’m capable of winning and confident of winning.”

“I know a lot of people get involved

in trash-talking and hyping up

but it has to be real” – Andy Lee

Lee doesn’t see the fact that Quillin gave up the title as particularly significant as he doubts the American feared Korobov.

“I believe it was for political reasons that he vacated the title,” said Lee. “His promoter didn’t win the purse bid and I think that was more the reason why he gave up the title.

“Because he did I got the opportunity to fight Korobov and here I am now champion. It’s funny the way it works out.

“I don’t think he turned down the Korobov fight out of any fear. I’m not trying to gain any confidence from that, I’ll just take it at face value.”

Lee declined to get involved in “trash-talk” about Quillin, saying he considered the former champion a friend, but warned against thinking he would be a “nice guy” in the ring.

“There’s no ill-feeling. There’s nothing personal between us. After the fight we’ll shake hands but when the bell rings we’ll be trying to take each other’s head off.

“We both now that while we’re in there, there’ll be no friendship in battle but once it’s over we can be friends again.

“I know a lot of people get involved in trash-talking and hyping up but it has to be real. For me, if it’s not genuine it doesn’t come across well. I’ve never been the type to do that.

“That’s me outside the ring but as you walk from the dressing room it’s time to switch on and change. You become a different person once you get inside that ring. You have to. You can’t be the nice guy in the ring because you’ll get quickly found out.”

Lee also revealed that he never lost faith in his ability to become a world champion, even when it looked his chance had gone after losing a WBC title shot against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in 2012.

“Through perserverance, hard work

and believing in myself I got

there in the end” – Andy Lee

“There definitely were times when I had moments of doubt but perseverance, I believe, is the reason I got here,” Lee said.

“[I was] working every day towards something that I wanted, even when it looked like it was never going to happen. Keep working, keep believing, and every day just making small increments, improving on a small level.

“Eventually I got the chance, my big break came and I took it. Through perseverance, hard work and believing in myself I got there in the end.”

Lee is hoping for big support in a city where he has fought three times previously but admitted his dream bout would be a title defence in Limerick.

“It’s a place I’m comfortable fighting in. I spent a lot of my career over there and I have a lot of friends in New York so I should have a good crowd for the fight.”

“To defend the world title in Limerick would be a dream come true. I’d be very much pushing for it during the summer or maybe the early autumn. But I can’t look too far ahead, I have a hard fight this Saturday.”


By Thomas Gerbasi –

(Photo:  Boxeo

Boxing’s loquacious elder statesman Bernard Hopkins may be headlining Saturday night’s Showtime card at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City against Karo Murat, but it’s the young man in the co-main event, WBO middleweight champion Peter Quillin who described life at the top of the boxing world better than even “The Executioner” could.

“I had to learn how to deal with it,” said ‘Kid Chocolate’ when asked if he was comfortable being the fighter now with a target on his back placed there by his fellow 160-pounders. “Even my friends will want to fight me because I have the belt, and I have to respect that and learn what being a champion is all about. So I don’t look at it as being comfortable; I don’t think life as a fighter can be comfortable because I’m on the borderline of sanity and insanity doing what I’m doing. It’s like a big mental game that I’m playing with myself, and that’s what boxing is all about. I fight through so much BS to live through good moments of my life, like being a winner, inspiring kids, and showing somebody that they can be what they want to be. So I can never be comfortable. And especially coming from where I come from, I could never be comfortable. I always wanted more; I was always working towards being a better person.”

Despite being less than comfortable at the top, it’s evident that he has made it, both in boxing and in life, though neither seems to be letting up in throwing curveballs at him. The ones in the ring are easy enough for him to deal with, considering that he only has to face one man with two fists in sanctioned combat every few months. The ones outside the ring, they’re always tougher to deal with simply because you never see them coming.

Heading into Saturday’s bout with Gabriel Rosado, Quillin is still heavy-hearted after his wife suffered a miscarriage of their child earlier this month, but he’s put on a brave face and made it clear that this won’t affect his performance on fight night. Granted, it’s not easy to deal with, but if anyone can persevere, it’s the New Yorker who was once homeless as he looked to make his fistic dreams become a reality.

Today, he’s got a world title belt in his possession and a bright future in a hot division. But the road to get better doesn’t end, something you don’t have to tell him twice.

“I’m just glad to be positive and learn about myself and inspire people,” said the 30-year-old. “It’s been a road to remember. I would have never thought I’d be where I’m at right now. I’m just glad that I can be evidence of what hard work can get you.”

Want more evidence? Less than a month after Saturday’s fight, Quillin will be taking the last test to earn his GED. You might wonder why an established world champion with the potential to make millions in the coming years and set himself and his family up for life would do such a thing, but Quillin is more curious why you would even wonder why.

“How can I tell kids to stay in school and don’t be a fool when I’m sitting around here without my education?” he said. “I took the hard road and boxing fell into my hand and became such a passion, but I look back and what I would want to promote to my kids is having an education. It’s something that I thought was a very responsible thing to do, and I’ve been working hard to do it, but with such a busy schedule, it’s been tough.”

Next month, that will be another item on the Quillin bucket list to check off. The first one on the current list? Keep his title, and that means vanquishing the always-tough Rosado.

“I look at him as just another guy I’m fighting, another personality, another style that I’m gonna learn right there in the ring, and I can never say that I’ve been in there with a person like Gabriel Rosado,” said Quillin, who just celebrated his one year anniversary as champion on October 20th.

On that 2012 night in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Quillin put France’s Hassan N’Dam down six times en route to a 12 round unanimous decision victory. Six months later, Fernando Guerrero visited the deck four times before being stopped by Quillin in the seventh round. The win over Guerrero lifted Quillin’s pro record to 29-0 (21 KOs) and established him as one of those fighters you will make sure you’re watching whenever he’s on television. New York fans always knew this about their hometown favorite, but the rest of the world was slow to catch on, leaving Quillin on the outside looking in for longer than most.

“I tried not to worry about the guys before me that were getting opportunities that I felt I wasn’t getting,” he said. “I just had to let them worry about their own stuff and I worried about my own. I figured my time was gonna come, and I would have to appreciate it.”

Signing with Golden Boy Promotions and winning a June 2012 bout against Winky Wright finally accelerated the process for him, and when matched with N’Dam, he made the most of his opportunity. Today, he refuses to look back.

“Now it’s my time, and I’m appreciating everything that’s going on,” he said. “When it comes to the past, it’s like bumps in the road when you’re in a car. You go over a bump and you’re like ‘damn, that was big,’ but eventually, when you get to see the bump, it’s in your rearview, and the further you go, the bump disappears. So I stay in my present, don’t worry too much about the future, and forget about the past. And now, I have to work even harder.”

If he gets by Rosado, that will be another win, another paycheck, and another step toward bigger fights. At middleweight, the established champion is Sergio Martinez, the heir apparent is Gennady Golovkin, and the dark horse of the championship quartet is Darren Barker. Fights for Quillin against any of those three are appealing, even if promotional and television ties may make them pipe dreams at the moment. But as far as Quillin is concerned, he’s a firm believer that things find a way of eventually working themselves out.

“The mind is a powerful thing and if you use it to your advantage, you can see huge rewards from it,” he said. “Back then I may have had penny thoughts, but I always had million dollar dreams.”

Now it’s time to cash in on those dreams.–70973



peter-quillin (20)

WBO middleweight world champion Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin and Philadelphia contender “King” Gabriel Rosado held an international media conference call to discuss their title bout taking place on October 26 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, in the co-main event of the Bernard Hopkins vs. Karo Murat IBF light heavyweight world championship fight.

Gabriel Rosado: “This is my third fight at middleweight, I’m bigger and stronger, I’ve got a size advantage over Kid Chocolate…I’m going to go through whatever it takes on October 26 to win that title.”

Peter Quillin: “I know Gabe Rosado and I have no problem with him but he’s still going to try to take my title and I don’t take that lightly…I’m going to come out victorious in this fight on October 26.”


By Cory Olsen –

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — As the freight train of boxing power players involved in the Floyd Mayweather and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez press conference steamed into town and then out again on Wednesday, one world champion remained in Grand Rapids, looking to give back to the community he grew up in.

WBO Middleweight Champion Peter Quillin was honored by the state and city in a short ceremony inside a boxing ring at Up and Out Fitness on Grand Rapids’ southeast side.

hi-res-119685749_crop_exact  From left: WBO Middleweight champion Peter Quillin shakes hands with State Representative Brandon Dillon during a presentation at the Up and Out Gym in Grand Rapids Wednesday. (Cory Olsen |

RELATED: GR’s Peter Quillin hopes to defend middleweight title on Mayweather-Alvarez card

State Representative Brandon Dillon shared a special tribute from Gov. Rick Snyder and the state which read, in part: “A fierce competitor, Peter brings more than hard work and readiness to each performance…His poise under the pressure of intense competition serves as an example to all young people striving for recognition in any sport.”

He also received the Grand Rapids “Icon Award” from County Commissioner Jim Talen.

-cec90876fe1658fe   -48f4d138bc966d8e

“I can’t even put words to how I really feel,” Quillin said. “It’s a blessing to be able to come back here and get love back from your home town. It gives me a good feeling as well to try to give back and spread a healthy and positive message.”

Quillin shared that message with Grand Rapids youth Wednesday evening at the Hispanic Center of West Michigan and will continue to interact with youngsters on Thursday and Friday, delivering motivational speeches at the Paul I. Phillips Boys and Girls Club from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Thursday, and the Grand Rapids Initiative for Young Leaders Friday from 10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

He will also be recognized by the Grand Rapids Public Schools as an “Outstanding GRPS Alum” at a benefit at the Richard APP Art Gallery Thursday evening.

“I want to make sure I’m occupying my time being productive while I have this belt,” Quillin said. “I’ve been trying to change myself for the better. I need to keep a good, positive support structure around me, faith in God and keep working hard.”

As a group of young children held onto the ropes of the boxing ring he was speaking out of, Quillin shared his hopes for the youth of Grand Rapids.

“People will say ‘man, you’re living the life,’ but not in that kind of way,” Quillin said. “I’m living the life that was sent to me, I’m adding onto that by trying to be a positive role model and doing the best that I can. I learned something in church that says ‘doing less than your best is never good enough but doing your best is always good enough.’ So I’m just trying to do my best. I never said I have all the skill in the world but I do have a lot of effort.”





NEW YORK (April 21, 2013) – Charismatic world champion prizefighter Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (28-0, 20 KOs) is holding his World Boxing Organization (WBO) middleweight title belt hostage, as he prepares to make his first defense this Saturday evening (April 27) against challenger Fernando Guerrero (25-1, 19 KOs) on Showtime Championship Boxing, airing live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

The 29-year-old Quillin, fighting back at home once again in New York City, captured the WBO championship this past October 20 at Barclays Center, dropping defending champion and previously unbeaten Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (27-0) six times en route to a overwhelming 12-round unanimous (115-107 three times) decision.

“I earned my belt and I don’t plan on giving it back until I retire,” Quillin said. “I’m going to win a few more belts for my collection, if any of the other world champions want to fight me on in a unification fight. My goal is to become the undisputed middleweight champion of the world but, first, I have to take care of business Saturday night against a hungry challenger.

“The big difference between me and Guerrero, though, is he wants to be famous and I just want to be the best middleweight in the world. Boxing is a struggle, like my well documented life, coming from such a negative environment. He’s a lot different than anybody I’ve fought, a different challenge I want to get past. I take nothing away from him but, he knows what it feels like to lose. I’m 28-0, never been beaten, and I’ve challenged myself to stay unbeaten.”

“Kid Chocolate” has dedicated his world title fight this Saturday night to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and their families.

Guerrero has defeated current International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior middleweight champion Ishe Smith, as well as notables such as Juan Carlos Candelo, Saul Duran, Ossie Duran and Gabriel Rosado. Two years ago, though, the left-handed Dominican was stopped in the fourth round by then 40-year-old Grady Brewer.

“Guerrero is a tough kid with some skills who can box a little,” Quillin’s head trainer, Eric Brown, recently remarked. “He’s like any other guy we fight – we take ‘em serious and don’t play ‘em. We’re preparing to fight this guy at his peak, ready for him to bring his best.

“Anytime a guy goes from contender to champion, like Peter, his confidence is higher. He feels good about himself. People start calling him champ, recognizing him as a champ, and that boosts his enthusiasm. But I think it’s more difficult defending than winning a world title. Once you win it, you’ve got to prove it wasn’t a fluke. Peter will prove that he’s even better than when he won the title.”

“Me and my partner, Jimmy McDevitt, are very excited about Peter’s first title defense,” Quillin’s co-manager John Seip added. “He’s developed a different mindset going from contender to world champion. Insecurities and confidence issues are erased as champion. He’s a much more dangerous fighter as a title holder. The world championship belt is something all fighters train for and dedicated their lives to. He is much more aware of this and takes nothing for granted.

“This is the second phase of Peter’s career. The hard part has just started and there is no room for complacency. Peter isn’t satisfied with winning the world title; he wants more. We’ve been with him since day one and we’ve never seen a more confident, determined young man. He sincerely believes he is fulfilling his destiny, which is very difficult to beat. I hope Mr. Guerrero has prepared himself for a war. This should be an exciting fight….don’t blink!”