Matchroom Boxing has announced a date for Billy Joe Saunders' next world title defence. The super-middleweight matchup, taking place on December 4th, will see Saunders make the 2nd defence of the WBO belt that he won via a unanimous decision against Shefat Isufi back in 2019.
Saunders faces fellow Brit, Martin Murray, in a fight that was supposed to happen back in 2018 but was cancelled twice due to Saunders suffering injuries in training.
The bout will be Murray's 5th attempt at a world title, with previous efforts seeing him fall short against Sergio Martínez, Gennadiy Golovkin, Arthur Abraham and George Groves. Despite ending via TKO, his challenge for Golovkin's WBA (Super), IBO, and WBC belts was one of Murray's career-best performances - seeing him extend the fearsome champ into the 11th round at a time when 'GGG' was still knocking out anyone he touched. Murray isn't a huge puncher, nor will he ever be featured on any pound for pound list, but he is as tough as they come, only having lost when stepping up to the highest level of the sport, and even then always making a fight of it.
At 38 years old, having already mentioned retirement several times, this will be Murray's last shot at a title, and he'll likely give it everything he has. It's a big ask though against a younger, fresher, Saunders.
For both Saunders and Murray, the fight will be the first in over a year, with Murray last winning an eight-rounder against Sladan Janjanin on November 15th, and Saunders KO'ing Marcelo Esteban Coceres on the undercard of KSI vs Logan Paul II on November 9th.
Should Saunders get past Murray, he plans to continue pursuing a mega-fight with pound for pound star, Canelo Álvares - a fight that Billy Joe has been chasing for some time now. However, whenever it seems like they and their teams have reached an agreement, an official date fails to materialise.
In a recent interview with IFL TV, Saunders seemed hopeful that the Canelo fight could happen in May next year. However, should he lose his belt to Murray, there's little chance that Canelo will still be interested, and that opportunity could end up going to WBA super-middleweight champion, Callum Smith.
Saunders vs Murray takes place on Sky Sports on December 4th live from Wembley Arena, London.