BRADLEY SAUNDERS will have to Finnish off the job if he is to take another step up the career ladder by landing the WBO intercontinental light welterweight title next month.
The rapid-rising Sedgefield boxer has learned he will be up against Finland’s Ville Piispanen for the vacant belt on June 7 at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.
Piispanen, 30, from Lahti, has lost just four of his 25 pro bouts and six of his last ten were title contests, which included successfully claiming the EBU light welterweight crown in 2010.
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Saunders, who has won all nine of his professional contests with seven stoppages, said: “We do the job like I have been and I then will be in the top ten in WBO world rankings. It’s a huge fight for myself and appreciate all the support I’m getting."
But Saunders will not be under-estimating Piispanen. He said: “The kid I am fighting has asked for me, we knew this was happening three weeks ago and he boxed Saturday for a warm up fight so he is right up for it. I’m looking forward to the fight and looking forward to doing the rounds as he’s a very tough lad.”
Saunders has been keen for an opportunity like this as he looks to close in on a world title shot.
The-28-year-old had been hoping for a shot at the British light welterweight belt held by Curtis Woodhouse.
Manager Frank Warren publicly offered £50, 000 for Woodhouse to defend against Saunders only to decline and accept the challenge from Commonwealth champion Willie Limond instead in Glasgow next month.
The County Durham fighter suffered a further blow when a planned eliminator with former British champion Lenny Daws – ordered to take place before the end of June – was scrapped when the latter pulled out of the fight.
Saunders will be on the undercard at the Metro Radio Arena on June 7 when Stuart Hall’s IBF bantamweight title will be on the line against Paul Butler.
Hall, from Darlington, retained his title against Martin Ward last month on a technical decision after just two rounds. Butler is unbeaten in 15 fights is relishing the opportunity. He said: “Since I was a ten-year-old, this is the moment I've dreamed of and to be fighting a British fighter, who's the world champion, for his world title is fantastic.”
Birtley’s British champion Jon-Lewis Dickinson also faces Commonwealth king Ovill McKenzie as both put their respected titles on the line.
Guisborough’s unbeaten light-welterweight Josh Leather makes his fifth professional appearance as he takes a step against Liverpool southpaw Tommy Carus.
And another notable fight will be Sunderland’s English lightweight champion Kirk Goodings defending his title against Sheffield’s Jamie Sampson.
Also appearing will be County Durham’s Tommy Ward as he enters into a risky fight against Michael Ramabeletsa over six rounds. Sunderland’s Jordan King takes on James Child in a four rounder at light heavyweight and there are others
Tickets priced at £40, £75, £150 and £200 are available directly from Team Saunders on 07861 226986.