Billy Joe Saunders undefeated former British, Commonwealth and European middleweight champion SIGNED (silver sharpie) victory celebration 8" x 10" photo.
Billy Joe Saunders (born 30 August 1989) He is the current Commonwealth middleweight champion, having previously held the British and European middleweight titles. As an amateur he represented Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Originally from Cheshunt, Saunders grew up in a Romanichal travelling community near Hatfield, Hertfordshire. His great-grandfather, Absolom Beeney, was one of the community's most famous bare-knuckle boxers. Billy Joe fought for Cheshunt Amateur Boxing club, overseen by Charlie Bliss, and also at Hoddesdon Amateur Boxing Club.
Saunders won his first 49 amateur fights at senior level, including the 2007 Commonwealth Championships and the 2008 Strandya Cup, edging out Latin American Carlos Banteux
In 2008 Saunders qualified for the Beijing Olympics in the welterweight division at the age of 18. At the European area qualifier in Pescara, Italy he beat European champion Andrey Balanov and Kakhaber Zhvania, but lost in the semi-final to Oleksandr Stretskyy before beating Pavol Hlavačka for the all-important third spot to become the first person from the British Romanichal community to qualify for the games.
In Beijing he beat Adem Kılıççı in the first round but lost to old foe Carlos Banteux in the second. He was subsequently suspended for "lewd behaviour", allegedly pertaining to an incident with a local woman during a pre-season training camp in France. In early December 2008, Saunders turned professional and signed with promoter Frank Warren.
Saunders made his professional debut on 28 February 2009 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, against Attila Molnar. Saunders looked confident from the opening bell, landing hard combinations which quickly overwhelmed Molnar. In round two, a series of punches that landed flush on Molnar's chin caused the referee to stop the fight and save a dazed Molnar.
Saunders won his second fight by second-round stoppage of Ronny Gabel and his third fight, also by second round stoppage, of Matt Scriven. On 9 October 2009, he went four full rounds to outpoint Alex Spitko. On 21 May 2011, he scored an impressive second-round knockout victory over Kevin Hammond. Saunders went on to score wins against Norbert Szekeres, Gary Boulden and Tony Hill, the last of these giving him his seventh professional knockout victory and his first major regional title, the Commonwealth middleweight championship, on 28 April 2012. For his first defence of the title, on 1 June, Saunders went the full twelve-round distance (also a first) against veteran Bradley Pryce, outpointing him comfortably. A then-undefeated Jarrod Fletcher was quickly dispatched in two rounds on 14 September.
On 15 December, Saunders fought Nick Blackwell for the vacant British middleweight title. This turned out to be one of Saunders' first tough outings, as he was forced to go the full twelve rounds en route to a competitive unanimous decision victory on the judges' scorecards. A pair of trouble-free fights came next, against tough slugger Matthew Hall on 21 March 2013 and Gary O'Sullivan on 20 July, both of which also lasted twelve full rounds. 2013 concluded for Saunders with another tough fight on 21 September, this time against fellow British prospect John Ryder in defence of both the Commonwealth and British middleweight titles. Both fighters came in undefeated and fought for twelve competitive rounds, with very close scorecards all favouring Saunders.
It would be almost another year until Saunders had his next fight. On 26 July 2014 he added to his title collection with an eighth-round knockout of Emanuele Blandamura, earning him the European middleweight title. Immediately after the Blandamura fight, Saunders called out another undefeated British prospect and arch rival Chris Eubank, Jr. Prolonged negotiations ensued between Frank Warren and Eubank, Jr.'s team (led by his father Chris Eubank, Sr.), with the highly anticipated fight eventually signed in October and taking place on 29 November. All three of Saunders' titles were on the line, as well as being an eliminator for the WBO World middleweight title.
The rivalry and build-up was likened to the first fight between Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank in 1990. Saunders went on to defeat Eubank, Jr. via split decision; two judges had scores of 115–114 and 115–113 for Saunders, with the third judge scoring 116–113 for Eubank, Jr. Having secured his third defence of the British middleweight title, Saunders earned the Lonsdale Belt outright; he gave this to his father Tommy as a Christmas present.
With the win over Eubank, Jr., Saunders was in line for an opportunity to fight WBO World middleweight champion Andy Lee. In February 2015, Saunders and Warren accepted a 'step-aside' financial offer from promoter Lou DiBella in order for Lee to face Peter Quillin instead Warren said that he hoped for Lee to win that fight so that Saunders vs Lee could be staged in the summer. At around the same time, due to his high ranking, Saunders also received an offer from the IBF to fight for their vacant World middleweight title, but he reiterated his intention to follow the WBO route. In June, Saunders vs Lee was officially announced for the WBO World middleweight title. The fight was initially scheduled to take place in Lee's hometown of Limerick on 19 September, but was postponed and moved to Manchester on 10 October due to Lee suffering from a viral infection. On 1 September, yet another postponement arose due to Saunders receiving a cut in sparring. The fight has since been rescheduled for 19 December.
On 24 July, Saunders took a tune-up fight—weighing in at 173 pounds (78 kg), near the light-heavyweight limit—and stopped Yoann Bloyer in four rounds.