BRADLEY Saunders can’t wait to be a part of Stuart Hall’s major show in Newcastle – even if his North-East neighbour stole his thunder by winning a world title.
The Sedgefield talent who, until late last year boxed out of Hartlepool, will have the biggest fight of his career when he tackles world-rated Paul McCloskey on Saturday, March 29.
Saunders has won all eight of his pro bouts and promoters are hoping the 10-rounder against the Northern Irish light-welterweight will be for one of the World Boxing Organisation’s belts.
It’s all part of the bid by Queensbury Promotions, who are helping stage the bill at the Metro Radio Arena, to get the 28-year-old a world rating.
Success against former WBA world title challenger McCloskey will almost certainly do that and move the former Olympian towards his dream of bringing championship glory to the region.
Darlington’s Hall has already done that by winning the vacant IBF bantamweight belt last December and he makes the maiden defence against gifted Hartlepool southpaw Martin Ward on March 29.
“I really wanted to be on this show,” said Saunders.
“It’s a top bill and I didn’t just want any fight or an opponent I’d just blow away.
“I could have waited until next year to fight him but I wanted to do it on this bill. It’s a tough one and it’s a good step up for me.
“Stuart Hall’s success just increases my desire to perform here in the North-East.
“I sold 1,500 tickets for a show in Gateshead back in November and my dream was to bring titles to the North-East.
“Stuey’s gone and done it and that’s brilliant – fair play to him.
“Now I’ve got to do it as well!
“I always planned to fight in the North East and make people come here.
“I don’t see why we should have to travel to London and Glasgow, taking my followers there.
“I can stop up here and have fights like this, when anyone who’s anyone’s going to want to watch this.”
Saunders has begun his career like a house on fire with six of his eight wins coming inside the distance.
But McCloskey is his toughest foe yet – the 34-year-old has lost just three times in 27 bouts, including a defeat at the hands of Amir Khan for his WBA crown.
Saunders believes his amateur class counts for just as much.
“Paul McCloskey hasn’t beaten two Olympic champions or won silver at the Commonwealth Games,” said Saunders. “So there’s no reason why I can’t go and compete with him.”
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