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Billy Joe Saunders vs Willie Monroe Jr set for September 16

Billy Joe Saunders will defend his WBO middleweight title in London.

Frank Warren Press Conference Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Billy Joe Saunders finally has his second WBO middleweight title defense lined up, as the 27-year-old titleholder is set to defend on September 16 in London against Willie Monroe Jr.

Saunders (24-0, 12 KO) won the title from Andy Lee in December 2015, then didn’t make a defense until December 2016, when he struggled somewhat to a decision win over Artur Akavov. He was ordered to face mandatory challenger Avtandil Khurtsidze this year, but that fell through when Khurtsidze was arrested and charged in a RICO case.

Monroe (21-2, 6 KO) is a former Boxcino tournament winner, for whatever that’s worth to you, and most notably challenged Gennady Golovkin for the WBA middleweight title in 2015, losing by TKO-6.

Since then, Monroe, 30, has beaten John Thompson and Gabriel Rosado. He’s a slick boxer who could give a fighter like Saunders some problems on the right night, especially given Saunders’ inactivity.

This makes September 16 an even bigger day for the division, too, as we already have Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin on that date, which will decide the other three alphabet titles — all held by Golovkin — and the RING championship held by Alvarez. In theory, a win for Saunders would line him up to face the winner of Canelo-GGG, but we’ll see.

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