Saunders may sidestep British belt for world honours

Bradley Saunders
Bradley Saunders

BRADLEY Saunders looks set to get to challenge for world honours before he fights for the British championship.

The unbeaten Sedgefield star will tonight attempt to win the vacant WBO Inter-continental title by beating Finland’s Ville Piispanen at Newcastle.

Victory over the 30-year-old would put Saunders into contention for the World Boxing Organisation’s light-welterweight crown.

Saunders’ promoter, Frank Warren, had made lucrative offers to both British champion, Curtis Woodhouse, and Commonwealth title holder, Willie Limond, to fight the 28-year-old, but neither would play ball.

Warren’s son, Francis, from Queensbury Promotions, told SportMail that they will guide Saunders all the way to the top.

“It’s a very important night for Bradley,” said Francis Warren.

“He had a great amateur career and he came into the professionals wanting to hit the ground running.

“Bradley is a man in a rush.

“Some of the names he is touting about shows he’s not shy – he wants to beat the best.

“We think he’s ready for anyone in Britain.

“But Curtis Woodhouse didn’t want it – he wouldn’t fight Bradley.

“Willie Limond didn’t want it, he turned the fight down.

“Fair play to this guy from Finland, he’s got more guts than Curtis and Willie.

“If the British title should become available or Bradley is made mandatory challenger then that would be great.

“But until then, we’ll go down different avenues, we’re not going to let anyone get in the way of Bradley’s career.

“This fight with Piispanen should get him ranked [with the WBO].

“We at Queensbury are here to manage and promote his career the best we can and this is the best route to go down.”

Piispanen is a difficult opponent who has won and challenged for European titles.

He looks capable of extending the former world amateur bronze medallist, who has won seven of his nine wins inside the distance.

But Warren believes his star will outbox the Finn.

“Bradley’s getting into the big league now and I think we’ll see a different kind of guy, a more composed performance,” said Warren.

“Piispanen has gone the distance several times but Bradley has got everything in his locker to go all the way.”