Saunders beats Murray to retain WBO title

London, Dec 5 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 12/5/2020 1:05:37 PM IST

Billy Joe Saunders beat fellow Briton Martin Murray by unanimous decision to successfully retain his WBO super-middleweight crown at Wembley Arena.

According to BBC, it was the 30th win of his undefeated professional career for Saunders, who entered the world title bout rated a heavy 1-25 favourite by bookmakers.
Saunders took the fight 120-109 120-109 118-110 on the judges’ cards.
The 31-year-old is now eyeing the winner of Callum Smith’s bout with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on December 19. “I’ve been out over a year and it’s like boxing in the cemetery,” said Saunders.
“I like to perform for the crowd and I tried to set a rhythm but he is a cunning old fox and he ties you up well. “I probably needed the rounds going into the New Year and I hope he has a good Christmas and he goes back to his family. The main thing is I’m 30-0.”
It was Murray’s fifth unsuccessful shot at a world title and the 38-year-old conceded afterwards it may be his last fight.
Saunders delivered a controlled and confident display, finding success with uppercuts and body shots as the southpaw dominated the early exchanges. Murray stumbled to the canvas in the fourth round and, though a knockdown was not called, the veteran fighter clearly felt a powerful combination from Saunders.
“It was a clear knockdown,” said Saunders. “That could have changed the entire fight, if it was called a knockdown.”
Murray connected with a jab in the seventh and was competitive throughout, despite saying his back went in round eight, but Saunders was the dominant fighter and remained disciplined for the 12 rounds.
Saunders said afterwards his next outing “has to be a big fight”.
He was close to securing a fight with Alvarez in May before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Hertfordshire fighter was then considered as an opponent for the Mexican in September, but withdrew from talks, suggesting that he did not want to go into such a fight without adequate preparation, even if offered significant money. Instead, fellow Briton Smith agreed to face Alvarez at short notice later this month.
“It’s very important for me to stay in the gym now because I’m not getting any younger,” added Saunders. “Let’s get the big names out there. I need a big fight to get up for it, I don’t want to sit in the dressing room, singing and dancing.”

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