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Billy Joe Saunders to defend title against Willie Monroe Jr., Sept. 16

Saunders has defended his WBO title once since late 2015.

Boxing at Paisley Lagoon Centre Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders now has a new opponent for his second title defense. RingTV reports that Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) will be taking on WIllie Monroe Jr. (21-2, 6 KOs) on September 16th in London.

Saunders had previously been signed up to fight Avtandil Khurtsidze this weekend, but that fell apart when Khurtsidze was nabbed by authorities and accused of participating in an organized crime syndicate.

As for this fight, this will mark Monroe’s second chance at a world title since getting hammered by Gennady Golovkin in mid-2015. Since then, Monroe, 30, has won two decisions over John Thompson and Gabe Rosado. But by the time Monroe gets into the ring with Saunders he’ll be coming off a year-long layoff.

Saunders, 27, will be fighting after a near year-long layoff too, last beating Artur Akavov in December.

Truth be told, I expect this to be a pretty competitive fight considering the styles at play, and it certainly shouldn’t be an easy out for Saunders. But you tell me, fans, what do you make of this replacement title defense? Sound off in the comments below.

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