THE OTHER GUYS

Saun­ders out­points Mon­roe in a fight that fails to ig­nite

Boxing News - - Contents - De­clan Tay­lor

Billy Joe Saun­ders de­fends the other piece of the mid­dleweight puz­zle

CON­SID­ER­ING what was served up when the three other world mid­dleweight belts were con­tested only a few hours later in Las Ve­gas, this main event con­test for the WBO strap be­tween cham­pion Billy Joe Saun­ders and fel­low south­paw Wil­lie

Mon­roe Jnr at the Cop­per Box Arena looked even worse.

Saun­ders, box­ing for only the sec­ond time since he won the ti­tle by de­feat­ing Andy Lee way back in De­cem­ber 2015, was also not helped by one of the least am­bi­tious dis­plays from a vis­it­ing chal­lenger to th­ese shores in some years.

And de­spite com­plain­ing of ring rust, the cham­pion even­tu­ally cruised home rea­son­ably com­fort­ably with­out ever hav­ing to delve into the sort of reper­toire which has made him one of the coun­try’s most tal­ented pure box­ers.

De­spite never look­ing close to his best, still-un­de­feated Saun­ders was given a firm nod by all three judges as Julio Ce­sar Al­varado lodged a strangely close 115-114 along­side the more rea­son­able scores of 117-111 from Benoit Rous­sel, and 117-112 from Steve Gray. Marcus Mcdon­nell was the ref­eree.

Af­ter a tem­pes­tu­ous fight week which was capped by Saun­ders’ eight-year-old son Ste­vie punch­ing and kick­ing Mon­roe in the groin at Fri­day’s weigh-in, the New Yorker had promised to bring the heat to Saun­ders.

In re­al­ity, he never got much past tepid, but frus­trated Saun­ders with his awk­ward style. What was promis­ing, how­ever, was the Hat­field man’s abil­ity to com­fort­ably com­plete the 12 rounds, af­ter a new diet and train­ing regime up in Sh­effield un­der Do­minic In­gle.

The 2008 Olympian said af­ter­wards: “I felt I han­dled him with ease and did what I had to do. There was a bit of ring rust.

“To be hon­est, when I first went up to Sh­effield, I thought it was mis­sion im­pos­si­ble to get down to the weight in 12 weeks. I’ve got to take my hat off to Dom and the team. They got me su­per fit and I did stuff I’ve never done be­fore.

“I felt I did the rounds well but I got a bit lazy in some of them be­cause there was noth­ing hap­pen­ing. There was stuff I wanted to try tonight, but it takes two to tango. He’s an awk­ward, awk­ward boxer, Wil­lie, and it was a bit of clash of styles. But I beat him com­fort­able and got the win tonight.”

Saun­ders was not helped by a nasty cut which opened up fol­low­ing a clash of heads in the fourth round, which im­me­di­ately seemed to be trou­bling him. But In­gle and his team, in Saun­ders’ cor­ner for the first time, did a su­perb job in stem­ming the blood flow.

“When it hap­pened I couldn’t see,” Saun­ders said. “It was blurry, like some­one had chucked salt in my eyes. When I re­alised it was blood I just had to keep away un­til the end of the round be­cause I couldn’t see him.”

Even be­fore the clash be­tween Canelo Al­varez and Gen­nady Golovkin ended in a draw, which will surely set up a re­match, Saun­ders ad­mit­ted that he would like an­other fight be­fore tak­ing on the even­tual vic­tor.

A De­cem­ber bout is pen­cilled in and the WBO cham­pion raised a few eye­brows when he sug­gested who he would like to face. “Amir Khan has boxed at 160 be­fore,” he said. “What a fight that would be be­tween me and him.”

Ear­lier, the two stand­out names on the un­der­card both did the busi­ness against peo­ple who ap­peared way out of their league.

West Lon­don’s Daniel Dubois, in only his fifth fight, wiped out AJ Carter of Brix­ton in just 48 bru­tal sec­onds of their sched­uled 10-rounder to claim the va­cant South­ern Area heavy­weight ti­tle. It ended af­ter the third knock­down of the opening round, and ref­eree Lee Cook might have stopped it af­ter the sec­ond, but al­lowed Carter to walk straight into a chilling fi­nal right hand.

Light-heavy­weight An­thony Yarde, of Il­ford, needed nine min­utes to see off Hun­gar­ian late re­place­ment

Nor­bert Neme­sap­ati, who was pulled out be­tween the third and fourth rounds by his cor­ner af­ter be­ing dropped twice while ship­ping al­most con­stant pun­ish­ment. Ref­eree Gray had no prob­lem with the cor­ner’s de­ci­sion.

Welling’s Archie Sharp im­proved to 10-0 and recorded his sixth in­sid­esched­ule win when he forced ref­eree Lee Ev­ery to wave off his su­per-feather con­test with Hun­gary’s Imre Nagy af­ter 1-32 of the sec­ond. It was sched­uled for eight. Both Lu­cien Reid, of Hack­ney, and

Zak Chelli, of Ful­ham, won their six rounders. Reid tri­umphed 60-54 against Barcelona-based Jose Aguilar on Ev­ery’s card, while Chelli got a 60-55 de­ci­sion from Cook fol­low­ing a half-dozen hard rounds against tough York­shire­man Adam Jones.

In the evening’s opening bout, New Malden su­per-mid­dle Ler­rone Richards looked set for a stop­page win af­ter drop­ping Hun­gar­ian Ferenc Al­bert in the first round, but had to make do with a 60-53 suc­cess on Cook’s card.

There were wins for the three debu­tants too, as light-heavy­weight

Ryan Hat­ton, of Tam­worth, and wel­ter­weight Hamza Sheera, of Gants Hill, both recorded stop­page vic­to­ries. Hat­ton forced Cook to wave it off af­ter 2-16 of round three against Gilling­ham’s

Jack Davies, while Ev­ery called a halt to Nor­wich man Duane Green’s re­sis­tance af­ter 1-28 of the sec­ond. Mean­while, su­per-mid­dleweight Umar Sadiq, of Il­ford, beat Glouces­ter­shire’s Lewis van

Poetsch over four rounds, with Ev­ery scor­ing it 40-36. Highly rated Erith fly­weight Jake

Pet­titt, mean­while, moved to 2-0 af­ter beat­ing Bul­gar­ian Ste­fan Sashov 40-36 on Ev­ery’s score­card.

THE VER­DICT Style clash in main event is not helped by one-sided un­der­card.

Photos: AC­TION IMAGES/MATTHEW CHILDS

CLASH OF STYLES: Saun­ders fends off fel­low south­paw Mon­roe [right]

TI­TLE DE­FENDED: Saun­ders cel­e­brates with his team

WRECK­ING MA­CHINES: Dubois [above] de­stroys Carter with bru­tal ease in less than a minute, while Yarde ham­mers Neme­sap­ati [right] to de­feat af­ter three rounds of ac­tion

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