Billy Joe Saunders won a world title in a second weight class today at Lamex Stadium in Stevenage, England, predictably outpointing Shefat Isufi to win the vacant WBO super middleweight title on a chilly night.
Saunders won on scores of 117-111, 118-110, and 120-108, improving to 28-0 (13 KO) with the victory. Isufi is now 27-4-2 (20 KO).
Saunders was mostly able to cruise in this fight, just drastically more skilled than his opponent, which was what most expected. He did press some early, but when he got clipped and wobbled a bit in the sixth round, he was content to coast through the second half of the bout.
“He caught me with a good shot. It makes you aware that I haven’t been in a meaningful fight for over 14 months now,” Saunders said of getting shaken in the sixth round. “He’s No. 1 with the WBO ranking for a reason. He’s obviously good.”
Saunders was asked what he wants next, and whether he might consider moving back down to middleweight.
“I want the big fights, the big names out there. The big domestic fights, the unifications,” Saunders said. “I moved up from middleweight because none of them want to fight me there. I’m now a two-weight world champion.”
He also said he wants to stay active, stay busy, and return as soon as he can.
“I’ll be happy to be on the O2 bill (on July 13). I wasn’t really pushed or anything here, it was like a good sparring practice for me,” he said.
Asked to name a specific opponent, Saunders did mention Callum Smith for a 168-pound unification, but it wasn’t really a “call-out.”
“Every time I put out there who I want, this name, that name, it never happens,” Saunders said. “I really hope we can make the Smith fight, it’d be a brilliant fight for the fans. I wouldn’t even mind going into Manchester. I love that fight, it’s a big fight, and I think Smith’s got the balls to fight.”