Bradley Saunders: I can feel momentum building ahead of ring return

Bradley Saunders (left) in action against Mitch Prince.

Bradley Saunders (left) in action against Mitch Prince.

Bradley Saunders hopes to take the “momentum” he is building in the gym into the square ring this Friday.

The Sedgefield fighter is on the comeback trail at the JD NXTGEN show in Newcastle.

Saunders has not boxed in 21 months after breaking both hands in a shock defeat to Renald Garrido in Liverpool in September 2015.

But the 31-year-old former Olympian will fight over six rounds at the Walker Activity Dome, where Josh Kelly tops the bill in a North-East derby against Tom Whitfield.

Saunders has been training in Essex at the gym of Tony Sims and says the preparation has been ideal, including a number of rounds with Conor Benn, the son of ‘Dark Destroyer’ Nigel.

“It’s gone brilliant,” said Saunders, who has had hip bone grafted onto his hands in pioneering surgery.

“I’ve sparred Connor Benn, Ted Cheeseman and Tyler Goodjohn, all good lads, and done stuff with my little brother Jeff [the unbeaten light-welterweight] I feel fantastic.

“I can feel the momentum building in the gym and my hands are fine.

“I now want to build momentum in the ring and that starts on Friday in Newcastle.”

Saunders, given the nature of his injury, is a man fighting and punching on borrowed time.

His career has been an incredible one, having represented his country all over the world as an amateur, including the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

A former World Championship bronze medallist, Saunders was enjoying a rapid climb up the professional ladder until his hands gave in that night at the Olympia on Merseyside.

Saunders had won the WBO inter-continental light-welterweight championship with a first round thumping of Finland’s Ville Piispanen, in Newcastle exactly three years ago.

But he is chasing a ‘major’ and is looking at clinching a British title before he hangs up his gloves.

“I’d love a professional title, of course I would,” he said.

“I’ve achieved so much as a boxer, but I’d love a British title.

“I think I’m going to come back at light-middle this Friday and I think it’s a weight that suits me.

“But I am happy to do welter or light-welter for a title fight.

“I’m back to achieve something, I’m not here to make up the numbers.

“I need this fight, need to lose a bit more weight, but I feel fit and strong and will fight anyone!”

Saunders is part of a powerful North-East cast list on the Eddie Hearn-promoted event.

Unbeaten Wearsiders, Warren Baister and Jordan King, are in action along with Middlesbrough’s former Hartlepool cruiserweight, Simon Vallily, while Darlington’s Stuart Hall takes another step towards a return to another world title shot.

For tickets, contact Tracey on 07944695367