Former middleweight titleholder Billy Joe Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) will find his way back into the ring on December 22 when he faces Zoltan Sera (32-17-1, 22 KOs) on the Warrington-Frampton undercard at Manchester Arena, ESPN reports.
It’s no secret that Saunders has had a tough year (although it was pretty much all self-inflicted), but he’ll look to turn things around before the year is out. Saunders hasn’t fought since wiping out David Lemieux this time, one year ago.
Saunders started the year with a proposed fight with Martin Murray, but that fight was postponed due to Saunders reportedly suffering a hand injury. A few short months later that fight was canceled altogether when Saunders then claimed he suffered a hamstring injury. Martin Murray, however, openly accused Saunders of faking the injuries to get out of the fight.
A couple more months passed while Saunders was lined up to defend his WBO title against Demetrius Andrade, but Saunders wound up in some hot water with the British Board of Control after an Instagram video surfaced which featured Saunders offering a drug addicted woman some crack in exchange for sexual favors. That incident wound up costing him a £100,000 fine.
Shortly thereafter Saunders would end up flunking a VADA drug test leading into the Andrade fight, which he attributed to a nasal decongestant spray. That excuse didn’t earn him any leeway with the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission though — where he was scheduled to fight — as the commission refused to license Saunders for the title defense.
Due to his inactivity and the failed drug test it became inevitable that the WBO would strip Saunders of his world title, so he instead took it upon himself to simply vacate the the belt while Saunders and his promoter stated their intentions of suing the Massachusetts commission for lost wages. In the meanwhile Andrade would go on to fight Walter Kautondokwa for the then vacant title while Saunders remained in limbo.
So, yes, it’s been quite an eventful year for Saunders in the news, although not so much in the ring where he’s supposed to be making his living.
In this next scheduled outing Saunders will be taking on Sera, a 33-year-old fighter from Budapest who has gone 2-3 in his last five outings, with each loss coming by way of knockout. This really should be a supremely easy touch for Saunders, but knowing his history there’s every chance that this fight doesn’t make it to the first bell.