STUART HALL and Martin Ward geared up for their IBF title showdown in Newcastle with a pre-fight press conference yesterday – but Bradley Saunders is determined to leave his own mark on the bill.
Saunders has sold more than 1,000 tickets for tomorrow night’s 15-bout show at the Metro Radio Arena and he is focused on impressing his loyal fans.
He has so far had a smooth start to his professional career, claiming eight wins from as many contests but knows Cumbernauld’s Mitch Prince will be tougher than anything he has faced so far.
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Despite the disappointment of Paul McCloskey pulling out through injury a fortnight ago, Saunders will not allow that to distract him as he drives towards a title of his own.
“I want to get to the top, and I want to get there quickly,” said Saunders. “I’m ready to be moved on. In all fairness, I’m knocking middleweights out on sparring – that’s where I’m at. I’m a light welterweight, but I think I’ve knocked two middleweights out in the last two weeks.
“I’m finding it hard to find light welterweights who are capable of standing with me. I’m good enough to be in good fights, so I think I should be.
“There’s no point in me getting experience against fighters I’m just going to walk all over, but I think 80 or 90 per cent of the potential fighters in Britain now are running scared of me.
“Curtis Woodhouse admitted that he’s not going to fight me, and he’s the British champion. He said on Twitter that I was the best 140lb fighter in Britain, which was nice of him.”
There is expected to be more than 6,000 inside the Arena tomorrow for the action, with Saunders determined to headline his own show for a world title one day.
The 28-year-old is already ranked the 12th best light-welterweight in Britain, but he will not be stopping there.
“Hopefully, I’ll be the mandatory challenger for the British title soon, but that’s not guaranteed because people are keeping away from me,” said the Sedgefield boxer.
“There’s so much politics in boxing, but I don’t need to shout out anybody. I’m going in one direction, and that’s forward. Whoever I fight, is going to get it. And if it helps me to move on by fighting different people and moving in different ways, then I’ll take them. I don’t want to exist – I want to be someone. I don’t want to just be hovering around the division.”
Promoter Francis Warren is looking after Saunders and believes the former Olympian and successful amateur can reach the heights he is targeting.
Warren said: “Bradley is in a hurry. He’s had a long amateur career and he’s in his late 20s now, so he’s really looking to kick his career on.
“There’s no point in him doing what someone like Kevin Mitchell did, and spending quite a bit of time establishing a record of 20-0, only to then come up short in his first meaningful fight.
“Bradley wants to get to the top as quickly as he can, and we’re confident he’s going to be able to do that. The only problem is that a lot of people seem to be shying away from taking him on.
“He’s not the easiest person to fix fights for because of his ability, but we’re confident he’ll be fighting for a British title soon. I would imagine he’ll follow the traditional route of English, British then European.
“This is a big weekend for him because it’s a big stage, in front of a big crowd, and it’s a great chance for him to show people what he’s got.”