Bradley Saunders raring to go for Wembley show

Bradley Saunders
Bradley Saunders

IF practice makes perfect then Bradley Saunders should enjoy a night to remember at Wembley.

The Hartlepool prospect should make it six wins out of six as a professional when he fights rugged Irishman Michael Kelly in the capital.

The six rounder is set at light-welterweight, meaning Saunders will now get a ranking in his preferred division.

Not that it’s going to be a straight forward exercise, Kelly, while closer to 40 than 30, is a tough customer, and Saunders has not thrown a competitive blow in seven months.

There is likely to be a little ring-rust and just a little apprehension having broken his hand last time out against Peter McDonagh at the end of November.

Coach Peter Cope has attempted to address both issues at the Gus Robinson Developments gym.

“Bradley’s looking brilliant,” Cope told SportMail.

“Last week he did 30 rounds of sparring and got better and better each time.

“He’s an absolute class act, especially when he opens up.”

The super-skilled Sedgefield stylist sparred with Daniel Cope, Josh Leather, Greg O’Neil and brother Jeff Saunders, who not long ago joined Bradley as an ABA title winner.

More than one ended doubled up in pain after fierce body shots from the Frank Warren-managed star which left coach Cope purring with delight.

“Bradley has always been something special,” he said.

“You don’t get up to number two in the world in the amateurs if you can’t fight,.

“He’s so exciting to watch, not just if you are a fan of his either.

“Bradley is the sort of boxer any connoisseur of the sport would love to see.

“It’s nice to see him boxing at light-welterweight tomorrow night which is where we’ll be looking for titles.

“I can’t see many 10-stone men being able to handle him.

“Not that it means we won’t be taking tomorrow night’s fight anything but ultra-seriously.

“Kelly is a cut above a journeyman, he goes out to win, and has only been stopped once.

“He’ll know who Bradley is and that a win against him will be a massive scoop.

“But if Bradley performs anywhere near what we know he can do then he should get the win.”

Kelly, 38, has given his all in away challenges for the vacant Celtic Warrior and Irish light-welterweight titles in two of his last four fights.

Despite his age, he has been lightly-raced in racing parlance, his 14 contests having been stretched over nine years.

“Kelly’s a hard man and still going strong,” added Cope.

There is excitement in the Saunders on the eve of the trip to London.

Saunders is one of the support acts to headliner Dereck Chisora.

The cockney heavyweight, famous for brawls in and out of the ring with David Haye, is facing unbeaten American Malik Scott over 10 rounds

“It’s brilliant to be on such a massive show,” Cope said.

“Not many from the North East have fought at Wembley before so that’s a feather in Bradley’s cap.”