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Boxing: Billy Joe Saunders vs Martin Murray

World Cup duel on Friday: Billy Joe Saunders meets Martin Murray

Billy Joe Saunders faces Martin Murray at Wembley SSE Arena.  The title defense of his WBO title in the super middleweight division as well as the preliminary fights will be broadcast live on DAZN.

All good things come in threes

In 2020, the boxing world will think in all directions, so even earlier planned fights will be taken out of the moth box.  So now on Friday in London when Billy Joe Saunders (29-0-0, 14 KOs) has to defend his world championship belt for the second time according to the WBO version.  Already in 2018 a meeting with his current opponent - Martin Murray (39-5-1, 17 KOs) - was scheduled twice, but Saunders had to pass due to injuries.  Subsequently, his fight against Demetrius Andrade in the USA also failed, as the Briton tested positive for the banned substance Oxilofrin.

Saunders then put down his middleweight world title and moved up a weight class, where he became world champion again after winning the then vacant WBO belt against Shefat Isufi.  A subsequent move to promoter Eddie Hearn should finally bring the now 31-year-old the long-awaited “Big Fight”, but so far there has been nothing more than a title defense against the rather unknown Argentine Marcelo Esteban Coceres.

So now it goes - with a delay - against Murray.  This is certainly not a stranger, as he stayed in the top 10 in the middleweight division for many years and later also in the super middleweight division.  But as unyielding as the now 38-year-old was, certain results were repeated.  Murray made four attempts to become world champion, but neither Felix Sturm, Sergio Martinez, Gennady Golovkin, nor even an aging Arthur Abraham could he snatch the world championship gold from the hands of.

Sure thing or does the surprise come?

The role of favorites should therefore be clearly distributed, but despite all of this, Saunders will have to call up a concentrated performance in order to avoid an almost embarrassment like weight class colleague Daniel Jacobs last Friday.  The return to coach Mark Tibbs, who led Saunders to the 2015 World Cup together with father Jimmy, at least suggests that the tech-savvy southpaw is serious.  Saunders shouldn't waste too much time anymore.