Unbeaten middleweight contender Billy Joe Saunders (18-0, 10 KO’s) used his feet to box his way to a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision tonight over Gary O’Sullivan (16-1, 10 KO’s) to win the WBO International middleweight title at the Wembley Arena in London, England. Saunders, 23, played hit and run for 12 rounds and it proved to be an effective strategy in out-boxing the slow but determined O’Sullivan by the judges’ scores of 119-109, 119-109 and 120-108.
Saunders literally moved for 12 rounds. His youth enabled him to be able to move that much, and it’s a good thing he did move because this fight would have been a tough one had he been forced to go toe to toe with O’Sullivan.
Saunders will now be facing John Ryder on September 21st in London. That’s the fight that Saunders badly wants, and he said tonight after the fight that he’ll retire if he loses to Ryder. You hate to see young fighters like Saunders making vows like that because he hardly looked unbeatable tonight.
Saunders was good enough to beat a plodding fighter without any hand or foot speed in O’Sullivan, but Saunders didn’t look like he would be hang with the likes of Peter Quillin, Gennady Golovkin, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Brian Vera, Felix Sturm or even Martin Murray. Saunders is going to have to wait those guys out until they either get old and retire or fade in the distant future. Right now, Saunders doesn’t have the power to beat those guys and he would surely lose if a fight were made between him and any of those guys.