Billy Joe Saunders talks to Danny Flexen about his future targets, including Canelo, and why he is back at the Ingle Gym for his next fight
He’s already a two-weight world champion, but Billy Joe Saunders retains significant ambition. The reigning WBO super-middleweight ruler makes his first defence, and Matchroom Boxing debut, on November 9 in Los Angeles, against unbeaten but untested Argentine Marcelo Esteban Coceres. While such a low-key return is understandable given it takes place on the undercard of the KSI vs Logan Paul 2 battle of YouTubers, Saunders is in no doubt regarding who his number one target is.
“Canelo,” he confirms of the Mexican superstar who challenges Sergey Kovalev at light-heavyweight tomorrow. “He’s only been beaten by Floyd Mayweather, who wouldn’t be a bad man to be second against. Whoever beats Canelo is the face of boxing. He doesn’t dodge fighters but he knows what style he likes and doesn’t like; my style is tricky for him.
“I want to beat one of the big names, keep going and going and going till I know I can’t go any longer. Two years, I’ll be done, finished, out the game. That’s the goal.”
Having made the move earlier this year from the Ingle Gym to Ben Davison, Saunders has returned to Dominic Ingle for the Coceres defence. Saunders has always been keen to learn and experiment.
“I like the Ingle gym, Ben’s been away with Tyson, Dom knows me and my body, and my nutritionist Dave Stache is here, so it’s the best place for me right now,” Billy Joe explains. “I can fit in with anyone around the world. I’m a traveller, ain’t I? I like travelling around, I need to be kept fresh and people I work with are only world-class people. They know what they’re doing, so I’m in safe hands at all times. I never go to a gym and not learn anything, even now.”
The other key recent change in Saunders’ career is the weight at which he competes. While the Hatfield man can still make middle, the 30-year-old believes he is more than a match for anyone at 168lbs (12st).
“I can fluctuate,” he says. “Obviously I’m more suited at middle, but something don’t leave me at 12st. People say I’m not really 12st but put me in with the big guns at 12st and we’ll see. I know and believe I can be the best at super-middle, I’m world champ at super-middle for a reason. If they don’t get in the ring with me now, they’re all pussies.”