Billy Joe Saunders dominates Martin Murray to retain his WBO super-middleweight title on his return to the ring after 13-month absence – following lifting of his ban for vile video showing men how to beat up their female partners during lockdown
- Billy Joe Saunders comfortable saw off Martin Murray to take his record to 30-0
- He joins Josh Warrington as the longest current unbeaten British boxer
- The 31-year-old is keen on a future blockbuster bout with Saul Canelo Alvarez
Billy Joe Saunders comfortably retained his WBO super-middleweight title with a unanimous points win against Martin Murray at the Wembley Arena.
Saunders, 31, in what was his first fight of the year after having his boxing suspension lifted, was too sharp and strong for his durable 38-year-old opponent, who was hurt several times throughout the contest.
Murray went down under a barrage of punches in the fourth round, but appeared to have lost his balance and no knockdown was given before hanging on to see out the final bell in the 12th round.
It was a comfortable victory for Billy Joe Saunders who extends his undefeated record to 30-0
Saunders was never really troubled as he hurt his opponent multiple times during the bout
The fight at Wembley comes just a few month after Saunders had his boxing suspension lifted, after he was videoed in March working out on a punchbag and demonstrating how to hit women if they get into a row during the first coronavirus lockdown.
The Hatfield fighter, who has regularly courted controversy, apologised for the shocking clip and said he ‘doesn’t condone domestic violence’ before being slapped with a £15,000 fine while escaping further punishment, allowing him to face the plucky Murray at Wembley.
The controversy ultimately cost him a blockbuster title fight with Mexico’s Saul Canelo Alvarez this year as a result, leaving him now watching fellow Brit Callum Smith to take his place instead.
However, with his comprehensive win over Murray, Saunders reiterated his desire to face Canelo once more, having extended his unbeaten record to 30-0 to join Josh Warrington as the current British boxer with the longest unbeaten run.
Saunders had his boxing license provisionally suspended after a video leaked online of him showing how men could beat up women over lockdown
Saunders looked to force the issue from round one and the southpaw’s jab began to find its target in the second, with Murray struggling to find his range.
The champion looked the classier fighter and landed several left hooks to Murray’s body before landing two big left uppercuts in the third round.
Saunders’ superior hand speed was telling, while his jab pierced Murray’s guard again in the fourth, which he comfortably lost.
Murray had been pushed back on to the ropes and found himself on the floor after holding, but a knockdown was not awarded.
Murray (left) appeared hurt at the start of the fifth while Saunders eased off the pace
Saunders caught his man again in the seventh and never looked troubled by his compatriot
Saunders’ superior hand speed was telling, while his jab continued to pierce Murray’s guard
Murray appeared hurt at the start of the fifth, but Saunders eased off the pace and continued to dominate in the sixth as he fired off more two-handed combinations.
Saunders caught his man again in the seventh and although Murray stepped up his work rate in rounds eight and nine, he never troubled the champion.
More body shots and upper cuts rained in on Murray in the closing rounds as Saunders upped the tempo and continued to hit the target with clean shots from all angles.
‘I’ve been out over a year now and it’s like boxing in a cemetery,’ Saunders told Sky Sports. ‘I like to perform for the crowd, get up for it.
Saunders is now hoping to target a fight with Saul Canelo Alvarez in the next year
‘Tonight I tried to set a rhythm, but he’s a cunning old fox. He knows how to tie you up well.
‘It’s not a performance I’m going to be shouting people’s names about because I’ve been out a year and I probably needed the rounds to be honest with you.
‘He got through it, so fair play to him. I hope he has a good Christmas and he can go back to his family.’