On Saturday, July 8, 2017, WBO Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) will take on Avtandil Khurtsidze (33-2-2, 22 KOs) at the Copper Box Arena in London, United Kingdom.
Saunders will look to re-establish himself as a legitimate champion at Middleweight after an uneventful 2016, where suffered several injuries that sidelined him until December of that year.
In his return fight, he took on Artur Akavov, but looked very sluggish and ineffective in his unanimous decision victory.
After a few months, the U.K. native called out Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in order to secure a unification fight for June, but Golovkin chose to fight Canelo Alvarez instead for more money and for Alvarez’s lineal crown.
On the other hand is the newly-crowned interim WBO Middleweight titleholder Khurtsidze. The 38-year-old native of Kutaisi, Georgia has taken a tough path since debuting as a professional in 2002, suffering two draws and two losses–the last of which was against Hassan N’Dam for an interim title in 2010.
In April of 2017, Khurtsidze earned a shot at the title after destroying Tommy Langford in five rounds.
“No disrespect to him but I will show you what he is when I fight him,” said Saunders in a press release.
“All he is to me is a puffed-up Danny De Vito coming forward throwing wild punches. It takes more than just power if you want to get anywhere near me,” said Saunders.
“He will never beat me and I will make him look stupid on July 8th. He does possess knockout power but I’m going to make sure I’m in the shape of my life and give him the toughest night he has ever had.”
“I’m coming to the UK for another knockout,” said Khurtsidze. “I took Tommy Langford’s unbeaten record and I’m coming for Billy Joe’s, and his belt! I have waited patiently for my World Title show and I won’t waste it. Billy Joe didn’t want to fight me last year and he would be wise to avoid me again; I love to fight!”
Who do you think wins on July 8? Let us know in the comments section below.
Gabe Rivas has written for Round By Round Boxing since July of 2013. He studies Literature and Philosophy, tutors English, and teaches Boxing. Follow him on Instagram and on Twitter @GabeRivas03.