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Saunders vs Khurtsidze set for July 8 in London

Billy Joe Saunders’ next title defense is official.

Frank Warren Press Conference Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

As expected, Billy Joe Saunders will make his mandatory WBO middleweight title defense against Avtandil Khurtsidze on July 8 in London, as promoters for the two fighters — Frank Warren and Lou DiBella — reached a deal and avoided a purse bid for the bout.

It’s an intriguing matchup on paper, with the 5’4” Khurtsidze (33-2-2, 22 KO) a must-watch action fighter, a ball of energy and a whirlwind of punches, facing Saunders (24-0, 12 KO), who at his best is a good technician and will have a significant height advantage, though that is nothing new for Khurtsidze.

Tyson Fury also wants to make his return on that same card at Copper Box Arena, but his anti-doping hearing with UKAD is still up in the air, and thus so is his comeback, at least for that date.

Who do you like in the Saunders-Khurtsidze matchup? Will it be the ferocity of Khurtsidze or the class of Saunders winning out?

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