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Billy Joe Saunders-Artur Akavov title bout postponed again


An incomplete medical for Russian challenger Artur Akavov has resulted in his WBO middleweight title fight with Billy Joe Saunders being postponed for seven days, as well as a change of location for the contest.

The pair were scheduled to meet at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales, this Saturday but problems with the translation of paperwork, supplied by Akavov’s team, have forced an unavoidable delay and the bout will now go ahead in Paisley, Scotland, on Dec. 3.

“It’s extremely frustrating for all parties, especially Billy who has been itching to get back into the ring following a frustrating 2016,” said promoter Frank Warren. “The medicals were sent late and mostly in Russian and once translated, it became apparent they were not complete.

“Ultimately, it would be too late to find a suitable replacement so postponing (the fight) was our only option. I feel for Billy Joe and for all of the fans who wanted to watch him.”

Alex Vaysfeld, from Akavov’s team, said, “This is no more than a translation problem and will be easily rectified upon Akavov’s arrival in the U.K. I’m glad Frank was able to postpone for just a week.”

The unbeaten Saunders, who is rated No. 3 by THE RING at 160 pounds, won his title from Andy Lee by majority decision last December and has not been in the ring since.

“I was ready to put on a big performance and defend my title in style but unfortunately this latest issue was totally out of our control,” said Saunders.

“The fight is still on, that’s the main thing, and I’ll be fully prepared to defend my title in Scotland next week before moving on to a blockbuster fight in 2017.”

The original date for Saunders-Akavov was Oct. 22 but the bout was postponed on that occasion due to a muscle injury sustained by the Englishman.

The Cardiff show will still go ahead. Terry Flanagan defends his WBO lightweight title against Orlando Cruz, Liam Williams meets Gabor Gorbics at junior middleweight, Tommy Langford faces Sam Sheedy for the vacant British Middleweight Championship and Tom Stalker and Craig Evans do battle for the third time.

The show on Dec. 3 will take place at the Paisley Lagoon Centre and will be topped by Saunders’ world title defense against Akavov. Former IBF bantamweight titleholder Paul Butler is also back in action, as well as rising junior welterweight star Jack Catterall. The show will be broadcast live and exclusive on BoxNation. Tickets for the Dec. 3 show can be purchased from Ticketmaster.

Information provided courtesy of a press release issued by Queensberry Promotions

Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing

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