Jeff Saunders, 21 from County Durham and younger brother of professional boxer Bradley Saunders, boxed his way to win the Combined Services Welterweight Title in Portsmouth this month. Currently serving in the parachute regiment, the amateur boxer from Sedgefield beat an experienced marine in the finals to claim the prestigious title.
“When I got selected to represent the army in the Combined Services Championships I was over the moon but at the same time slightly nervous. I had to put a lot of weight on and hadn’t laced up a pair of gloves for 10 months.”
Older brother Bradley currently undefeated and signed by top British promoter Frank Warren proudly commented on social media networks on March 8th.
“Little brother won the final of the combined services last night. That’s every genuine English/British title brought back home from junior to senior. World medals, commonwealth, EU, countless England and GB vests. Just need the professional British title next.”
Without a moment to rest, the newly crowned champion, Jeff Saunders was back competing in the ring just weeks later in Manchester looking to add to his trophy cabinet.
“I just boxed in Manchester last Sunday against England international Loren Lufftous and gave him a boxing lesson that he didn’t want to come out for the 3rd round. Next Sunday I’ll be in Liverpool for the semi-finals.”
There is clearly a streak of boxing talent within the family as older brother Bradley stormed the professional ranks in his opening year but has since been recovering from surgery after damaging his right hand following a classy points win over veteran Peter McDonagh from Bermondsey.
There has been months of extensive physiotherapy work to repair the hand but the talented pro is now looking for a June return and feeling more confident each day.
“Hand feeling spot on now. Won’t be long and I’ll be back in the ring. Hitting harder and harder every day.”
After fighting in London, Manchester and Scotland, Saunders’ management team have been searching around Teeside for new venues. The unbeaten pro commented on Twitter this month.
“Can’t wait to be fighting up north later this year. Me and Si Valily on the same bill.”
Add Ben Butler to the list of Brighton’s boxing showmen
Chris Eubank jnr loved the spotlight in his record-breaking ring career and his son is a similarly outspoken talent.
Butler doesn’t just share a home town with the fighting Eubanks. He also loves to put on a show.
The 21 year-old makes his professional debut at Hove Town Hall on Saturday, April 27 – and it promises to be a memorable night.
Butler will dress as a gladiator throughout his pro career and said: “I’m not a boxer, I’m an entertainer.
“It doesn’t feel like there are any entertainers in boxing any more.
“I don’t watch boxing because I find it boring. I’m going to change that !
“I’m not bothered about having a perfect record. I just want people to be entertained and remember me.
“People will leave shows talking about the gladiator.
“I’m a young guy with a lot of talents and bundles of confidence.
“I suppose I will be a bit like Marmite. Not everyone will like me, but that’s life. My dad used to buy tickets to watch Chris Eubank hoping he would get knocked out and his mates would all be cheering him on.
“I’ve got a positive attitude, I’m always smiling and I hope people like. All I know is it’s going to be an entertaining career.”
Butler served his amateur apprenticeship with Adur ABC, winning “more than 30” of his 46 bouts and claiming Southern Counties honours.
The boxing bricklayer will have former professional Leigh Wicks in his corner for his paid debut – and lives five minutes’ walk from the gym in Lancing.
“I would have moved into the gym if it was possible !” laughed Butler. “I eat and sleep boxing.”
He says his boxing is a “cross between Prince Naseem Hamed and Muhammad Ali” and says the sport has saved him.
“My dad and brother have been to prison,” said Butler, “and my dad told me not to take the same route. I’ve grown up with trouble, but boxing has given me a route away from that. Boxing is a dangerous sport – but it’s saved my life.”
The fighting Jenmans, Lee and Nicky, and Brighton welterweight Marcus Eaton also box in Hove and tickets are available from 07763-776451.
Nathan Dale is happy to be boxing’s best-kept secret
Away from the media glare, he’s chalked up nine straight wins by solving all the puzzles set by catch-me-if-you-can journeymen such as Danny Dontchev and William Warburton.
His points win over Warburton came in front of his Norwich fans – and they head along the A47 to the Peterborough Arena on Friday, April 12 for the 22 year-old welterweight’s next fight.
Promoter Robert Waterman stages the ‘Homecoming’ show that’s topped by former amateur star Michael Maguire – and Dale targets a 10th straight win on the undercard.
“I’ve got a few supporters in Norwich,” said Dale, “but around the country, nobody knows me.
“But they will know all about me soon.
“I’m going to be the dark horse of the division. I’m just learning my trade at the moment, but within six months I hope to ready to box for a title and then people will see what I’m all about. When I get my chance, I will be ready.”
When fight fans do see Dale, he reckons he will remind them of someone . . .
He’s trained by Graham Everett – and former British, European and WBU ‘world’ champion Jon Thaxton.
“There are similarities between me and Jono – and not just out shorts !” he laughed
“I wear a skirt like Jono did and he says I’ve copied him – but I haven’t ! We joke about it all the time in the gym.
“I’m picking up his head movement and switch hitting and I couldn’t ask for better trainers than Jono and Graham.
“I used to go to watch Jono when I was growing up and for a while he was unstoppable. He’s an inspiration.”
Dale hopes his boyhood hero can help him fulfil the promise he showed as an amateur.
Dale was a top-class junior with Norwich Lads. He won Golden Gloves and Four Nations honours, then took a break.
“When I was 18 I went out and did what 18 year-olds do !” laughed the Norwich City fan. “I had lived in the gym for years and decided it was time to go out and enjoy myself. But that’s all out of my system and it’s all about boxing now.”
Tickets for ‘The Homecoming’ are available from 07725-207547.