A bout two years in the making has been made official. Will both fighters be ready this time?
Matchroom Boxing announced that Billy Joe Saunders will defend his WBO Super-Middleweight Title against Martin Murray. The fight will take place on December 4 from inside the SSE Arena in Wembley. This is the fourth and final fight card to take place under Matchroom’s new agreement with the SSE Arena.
“I’m delighted to announce another big fight for the 2020 schedule as we close out this tough year with a huge bang,” said Eddie Hearn. “All-British World Title fights are always special, especially in the Super-Middleweight division, and I’m really excited to see Billy back in the ring. We were 24 hours away from an announcement for Billy to fight Canelo when the pandemic hit and so it throws up the final roll of the dice for Martin Murray who will give it everything on December 4.”
This will be Saunders’ (29-0) second time defending the WBO Super-Middleweight Title. He last fought in November 2019, beating Marcelo Esteban Coceres to retain the title. Saunders was rumored to face Canelo Alvarez back in May but the coronavirus affected those plans. With rumors of the two competing against one another coming up again, Saunders removed himself from the running. Canelo is still looking for an opponent.
This will be Saunders’ first fight back since getting his boxing license reinstated. During the start of quarantine, Saunders posted a controversial video showing men how to “take care of” their significant others who may annoy them. The British Boxing Board of Control suspended him following that. He would end up apologizing while also pledging to donate up to £25,000 to domestic violence charities.
Saunders stated, “I am very happy to be defending my WBO World Title again. I haven’t boxed for a year and I really do miss being in the ring. I can’t wait to have my 30th professional fight and finish the year with a bang before a big 2021.”
Murray (39-5-1) is on a two-fight win streak. His last bout was a points decision win over Sladan Janjanin in November 2019. The former British Middleweight Champion has fought for middleweight and super-middleweight gold before; he has faced the likes of Sergio Martinez, Gennadiy Golovkin, and George Groves. Murray has seventeen wins via knockout.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back in there and fighting for another World Title,” said Murray. “The big fights definitely bring out the best in me. This year has been a good year for me personally. It seemed like all the stresses of life were taken away so I really enjoyed being able to relax a bit more and spend even more time with my family.”
Both were supposed to fight one another twice before the fights fell through. A win by Saunders could bring him one step closer to unification bouts.