Saunders and Isufi contest the vacant WBO super middleweight title this weekend.
The title fight that is sort of flying under the radar this weekend, what with Wilder-Breazeale and the World Boxing Super Series taking all the spotlight, is Billy Joe Saunders facing Shefat Isufi in Stevenage, England, for the vacant WBO super middleweight title.
The show also will feature a heavyweight bout between Joe Joyce and veteran Alexander Ustinov, plus a British and Commonwealth super bantamweight title unification between Brad Foster and Ashley Lane.
The show will air live at 2:30 pm ET on ESPN+ this Saturday, as well as BT Sport in the UK.
The fighters met up on Thursday for the final press conference, here’s what they had to say.
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS
“This has been a long time coming. I had a terrible 2018 and feel my title was robbed from me. I jumped at this fight when it was offered and I will become a two-weight world champion.
“I’m not looking past Isufi, but I am looking for the big names. I am 29, I know I have got it inside me and nobody has seen my best.
“With the backing of BT Sport we can make the big fights. It is all fine saying I look good hitting the pads, but I have to be on my A-game and send a message to the other super middleweights.
“If I do bring it, I should box his head off. Whatever he brings I will fetch ten-fold more.
“I have been training with Ben and it has been good, enjoyable and great bouncing around with Tyson Fury. Everything has gone well and I’m enjoying boxing again.”
“I am doing this for me, but to become Albania’s first world boxing champion is big for them and also Germany as I box under their flag.
“Billy Joe will be trying everything to win and so will I.
“If Billy Joe did win I will congratulate him, but it will be the other way around.
“Billy Joe is quick, fast and a hard puncher. I can also punch and one punch could make the difference.
“My father died when I was young and he is always in my mind. When I win I will go to his grave and thank him.”
“I am fighting fit and good to go. Training has gone well with Adam Booth. I am looking for nine wins, nine knockouts.
“Ustinov is very experienced, big, strong, tough and this is a step up. I have to beat him to get to the next level. I know what he has in his arsenal and what I have to do to beat him. He can punch, but I take a shot and give one back.”
“This is a very hard fight and I am prepared to win. Joe is a very good boxer and I know him well. We will see who is the strongest boxer this weekend. Joe wants to knock me out, but everyone thinks they win by knockout.”
“I have been learning on the job and picked up the British title in my last fight against Josh Wale when I was the away fighter so I am not doing too badly. Ash has got a lot more experience and this is no walkover. It is a tough fight. I am a happy Brad and when I’m happy I perform better.”
“I watched him against Josh and it was a good performance. In my last seven fights I have turned my career around after up and downs. My experience and what I have learned from the last two years will give me the strength to win. I spar with Lee Haskins, Lee Selby and Andrew Selby. That is a high level of sparring.”
Bad Left Hook will have live coverage for Saunders vs Isufi on Saturday, starting at 2:30 pm ET on ESPN+