Tuesday, April 24, 2018  |


Billy Joe Saunders-Avtandil Khurtsidze set for July 8


WBO middleweight titleholder Billy Joe Saunders will make the second defense of his title against mandatory challenger Avtandil Khurtsidze on July 8 at the Copper Box Arena in London.

Saunders, who is rated No. 4 by THE RING at 160 pounds, outpointed Irishman Andy Lee in December 2015 to win the title. The talented British southpaw has only made one defense, however, against unheralded Russian Artur Akavov, who he outpointed just before Christmas.

Last month, Khurtsidze, who is rated No. 7, stopped another British middleweight, Tommy Langford, in five rounds. That victory earned the Georgian a bout against the unbeaten Saunders, who insists that he is far from intimidated by the 5-foot-4 power-puncher.

“No disrespect to him but I will show you what he is when I fight him,” said Saunders. “All he is to me is a puffed-up Danny De Vito, coming forward throwing wild punches. It takes more than just power if you want to get anywhere near me.

“He will never beat me and I will make him look stupid. He does possess knockout power, but I’m going to make sure I’m in the shape of my life and give him the toughest night he has ever had.”

“I’m coming to the U.K. for another knockout,” responded Khurtsidze. “I took Tommy Langford’s unbeaten record and I’m coming for Billy Joe’s and his belt. I have waited patiently for my world title show and I won’t waste it. Billy Joe didn’t want to fight me last year and he would be wise to avoid me again. I love to fight.”

Saunders’ promoter Frank Warren said, “Khurtsidze showed against Tommy Langford that he presents a clear and present threat to anyone in the middleweight division. He charges forward like a bull and holds lethal power in both hands.

“I believe that a clever and slippery customer like Bill is far too stealthy to get himself cornered against Khurtsidze. He has one of the best chins in the middleweight business and it will take something spectacular to beat him. This will be an intriguing fight.”

Ticket details will be announced on Monday at a press conference in London.

Information courtesy of a press release issued by Frank Warren PR




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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  • The Black Mamba

    Man, i forgot how handsome Khurtsidze was!

    • Colin Mc Flurry.

      The face only a mother could love.

    • IanF69

      That boy was so ugly as a baby, his pram had curtains…and rumour has it he was fed via a sling……long live the Penguin.

      • Stephen M

        He better be fit and motivated because his opponent will be.

      • D Johnson

        Lmao 😂

    • stetee83

      He had a tough paper round that is for sure

    • maxx

      LOL. Like Robert De Niro’s love child with a cave women.Kudos

    • Hammer

      Man, he makes Lebedev look like Fabio.

  • Stephen M

    “No disrespect to him but I will show you what he is when I fight him,” said Saunders. “All he is to me is a puffed-up Danny De Vito, coming forward throwing wild punches.” Geez , I can’t wait to see what it’s like when you are disrespectful.

  • Stash One

    Not sure why this fight is even happening, Bill gets talked about with the likes of GGG & Canelo but just hasn’t got the balls to get in with anyone decent, amazed he hasn’t been stripped of that belt he’s babysitting.

  • kiowhatta

    The real question is..(as always these days) who will the winner fight next? If it’s Khurt, will he do a Lemieux and immediately defend against GGG? or…
    If BJS wins does he keep fighting obscure names? The one exception on his record is a W against Eubank Jr.
    If I had my way, I would like to see Khurt KO BJS, then fight Eubank Jr, with the winner then fighting either Canelo or Golovkin.

    • philoe bedoe

      Andy Lee was another world class boxer he beat……….

      • D Johnson

        Eubanks isn’t world class yet. Who has he beat.

        • philoe bedoe

          I suppose he hasn’t beaten a world class fighter.
          But he seems to pass the eye ball test………

          • D Johnson

            He definitely passes the eyeball test my only hesitation is I remember back when everyone thought that Jeff Lacey was world-class….

    • Kudos

      This isn’t an obscure name, American journalists have been sucking off this guy for a while.


    This fake wanker champ is shit, why not fight David Lemieux?