Billy Joe Saunders wins two awards from the European Boxing Union
Unbeaten British middleweight Billy Joe Saunders has become a double award winner with the European Boxing Union (EBU).
The European champion, who is also rated No. 8, by THE RING at 160 pounds, was named EBU Champion of the Year and also took part in the Championship (fight) of the Year against arch rival, Chris Eubank Jr.
“It’s fantastic to be recognized by the EBU for not one, but two awards,” said Saunders in a press release issued by Queensberry Promotions. “To be named Champion of the Year is a tremendous honor, seeing as there are a lot of great European fighters out there.
“My achievements in the ring haven’t been matched by anyone else (in Europe) over the last few years, so I’m delighted that the EBU has rewarded me.”
Saunders won the European strap in July with an 8th round knockout of Emanuel Blandamura in Manchester, England. He followed that up in November with a split decision win over Eubank Jr, his first defense, and that has bolstered the talented southpaw’s reputation at home and abroad.
“I was confident that I could defeat Eubank, which proved to be true,” said Saunders. “It was a great fight to have at that stage of my career, to establish my dominance in Britain and Europe as the number one in the division.
“While Eubank wasn’t the hardest opponent of my career, the fight was huge for my profile and since beating him it’s put me on another level. The fans and media liked it and I’m glad this has been recognized.”
The former Beijing Olympian has cleaned up domestically at middleweight and, in addition to the European belt, has won the British title outright and made six defenses of the Commonwealth crown. He is currently 21-0, 11 knockouts and is poised to make a serious assault at world level.
The 25 year old will headline in London, on May 9, alongside Eubank Jr. as they build toward a possible rematch. However, as reported earlier this week, Saunders is likely to tackle WBO middleweight titleholder Andy Lee, before engaging in a lucrative sequel with his countryman.
Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing