Billy Joe Saunders destroyed Tony Hill at Royal Albert Hall, picking up the Commonwealth middleweight title. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Middleweight prospect Billy Joe Saunders was supposed to at least get a tough look from tall southpaw Tony Hill, but before Hill knew what was happening, the fight was over. Saunders landed a left and a rocking right hand after it just moments after the opening bell, and followed that up with a massive flurry of unanswered shots, forcing the referee to step in and end the fight before it ever really even started.
It was an impressive display from the 22-year-old Saunders, a former Olympian whose stock rises again with this win. Outside of his hand injuries that have delayed his progress, he's been really strong as a professional thus far, and there was even speculation after the fight of trying to match him with European titlist Kerry Hope, who upset Grzegorz Proksa in March but is not considered by many to be a strong champion.
That may be a bit risky for Saunders at this stage, but truthfully it may not be beyond his talent to win the European title from Hope at this stage. Saunders is now 13-0 (9), and Hope is really no better than any of the solid domestic middleweights Saunders could fight instead.
What is clear is that Frank Warren has legitimate plans for him, and may wind up more pleased with Saunders than any of the major prospects he's signed in recent years.
"He had that time out, he had the operation, and he's had a big sort of hiccup in his career," Warren said after the fight.
"As long as he keeps his feet on the floor, lives the life, he'll go all the way."
The win nets Saunders the Commonwealth middleweight title, his first notable title as a professional.
Bradley Skeete TKO-1 Ross Payne
Horrible comparisons to Tommy Hearns aside, this was a better performance from young Skeete, who has quickly gained a reputation as a dull fighter, but came out and did the work in this one, flattening Payne with a big right hand. Payne bonked his head pretty damn hard on the canvas, and despite getting up, was in no condition to continue. The referee made the right call to stop this one. Skeete 8-0 (3), Payne 3-1 (0).
Frank Buglioni TKO-1 Daniel Borisov
Borisov was a late sub and boy did he, uh, "fight" like it. After three knockdowns that were pretty close to being flops, he was gone, and Buglioni won again. He's popular and brings in fans, but there's a lot of work to be done, and his interviews indicate he's aware of that. Buglioni 4-0 (3), Borisov 4-6 (0).