Billy Joe Saunders joins Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing after shock Frank Warren split

Saunders left Warren’s Queensbury Promotions last week after an 11-year association with the Hall-of-Fame promoter, who has guided Saunders since his first professional fight.

Saunders currently hold the WBO super middleweight world title and joined Hearn to fight the biggest names in the business, with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, who both fight on DAZN, with whom Matchroom Boxing are affiliated, being earmarked as future opponents under his new banner.

“This move is going to benefit me massively,” said Saunders. “Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing can put me right out on the branch for those big fights.

“I’m on Golovkin and Canelo’s turf. I’ve made this move to make them fights because I’m sick of hearing their b******t excuses. Those fights make financial sense and they make sense because we’re on the same network.

“I will go where the big fights are and I can fluctuate between Middle and Super-Middle. If the big fights are at Middleweight then I’ll have them at Middle. If they’re at Super-Middleweight then I’ll have them at Super.

“I’m a World Champion at Super-Middle so if anyone wants to come and try to win a belt then I’ve got one of the most recognised belts out there and I’m open to big offers.

“I’m going to bring a lot of excitement to Sky Sports and DAZN. I’m a good talker but I can also walk the walk. Matchroom are going to give me more publicity and more exposure for these big fights and that’s what I need. Once people see me and they see what I’m about they’ll want to see me in those big fights.

“I can’t wait to be involved in those big nights that I’ve seen Matchroom put on over the years. If that means fighting at 168lbs or 8lbs lighter then that’s no problem. I’m ready to go and I’m hoping to be out at the end of October or early November.”

Saunders’ next fight will be announced next week with a plethora of big names milling about in the 160lb and 168lb divisions.

Another Hearn fighter, WBA and Ring Magazine super middleweight world champion Callum Smith, turned down a massive domestic clash with Saunders last month for what he and Matchroom Boxing percevied as a lowball offer from Warren and Saunders.

Hearn has previously explained his keenness to make that domestic dust-up and was very complimentary of his new signing.

“Welcome to the big league Billy Joe!” he said. “This is a huge signing for us and the perfect place for Billy to be. Everyone in boxing knows how good Billy is and now he is going to get the chance to prove it against the elite.

“He holds a World title at 168 but can also make 160 comfortably and when you look at the fighters we work with across our platforms, this was an obvious link-up. Fighters need to be motivated with regular dates and solid deliverable plans – now Billy finally has that you will see him shine on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Two-weight world champion Saunders has endured a tough 18 months after a defence against Demetrius Andrade fell through following a failed Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) drug test.

Saunders protested his innocence and explained the banned substance oxilofrine was in his system as a result of a nasal spray.

He was stripped of his WBO middleweight world title and suspended for six months by the governing body, although they later uplifted his ban.

The skilful southpaw got back into action in December 2018, sweeping aside Charles Adamu in a warm-up bout, before claiming the vacant WBO 168lb world title against Shefat Isufi in front of a home crowd in Stevenage.

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