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WBO orders negotiations for Billy Joe Saunders vs. Avtandil Khurtsidze

Khurtsidze has won nine straight, seven via knockout.

The ongoing nonsense between Billy Joe Saunders, Gennady Golovkin, and Canelo Alvarez has arguably screwed over one fighter above all others: Avtandil Khurtsidze, whom the WBO shoved aside in favor of making Alvarez Saunders’s mandatory challenger. With Alvarez off fighting Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, however, the Georgian slugger might finally get his chance, as the sanctioning body yesterday ordered him and Saunders to make a deal within ten days.

Should the two fail to reach an agreement, a purse bid will be held with a minimum bid of $200,000.

Khurtsidze (32-2-1, 21 KO) battered Antoine Douglas last March in a sizable upset and has been more or less caught in promotional limbo since. Saunders (24-0, 12 KO), by contrast, spent most of 2016 on the shelf due to both injuries and turning down a number of opponents. The Hertfordshire man, who scraped by Artur Akavov in December, recently joined trainer Adam Booth and teased a "big, big fight."

Khurtsidze is limited technically, but he’s tough, relentless, and just plain mean. Considering Saunders’s struggles against Akavov, "Tazman" is not to be overlooked here.

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