BRADLEY Saunders has always been a boxer in a hurry.
Seven stoppages in an exciting professional career which currently stands at nine straight successes is proof of that.
But the 28-year-old is desperate for titles – the top titles.
And the Sedgefield light-welterweight has the chance to move one step closer to that goal when he challenges for the vacant WBO Intercontinental championship on June 7.
Victory over Ville Piispanen, of Finland, at the Metro Radio Arena will catapult the former Gus Robinson Developments star into the WBO’s top bracket.
Saunders had hoped to do that on his last appearance at the Newcastle venue only for world-rated opponent Paul McCloskey pull out with a knee problem.
The Marbella-based ex-world amateur championship bronze medallist was forced to tread water with an eight-rounder against Mitch Prince.
The Scot was taken out inside four rounds – all but two of his opponents have failed to reach the final bell.
Promoter Frank Warren tried – and failed – to tempt British champion Curtis Woodhouse into defending his Lonsdale Belt against the Co Durham fighter.
But now he has the sort of fight he has craved.
Initially. his promoters, Queensbury, were hoping for an all England clash with ‘Lightning’ Lenny Daws in an eliminator for the British title but that did not come off and now Saunders will tackle the 30-year-old, from Lahti.
Piispanen’s record is a fair one – 18 wins, three draws and only four defeats, which includes just one stoppage loss.
All four of his set-backs have come in title contest, one of which, ironically, came at the hands of Daws in 2012.
Piispanen is a former EU champion and a challenger for the full European title
Saunders said: “The lad I am fighting boxed in a warm-up fight in Finland on Saturday so he is right up for it.
“I’m looking forward to the fight and looking forward to doing the rounds as he’s a very tough lad.
“If I can do this job like I have been then I could be in the top 10 in WBO world rankngs.
“It’s a huge fight for myself and appreciate all the support I am getting.”
Saunders v Piispanen is part of the undercard to the all-British clash between IBF bantamweight champ Stuart Hall and Ellesmere Port’s Paul Butler.
Hall, from Darlington, retained his crown on his maiden defence against Martin Ward after a cut eye prevented the Hartlepool southpaw coming out for round two.
There is also a unification bout at cruiserweight between British champ Jon Lewis Dickinson and Commonwealth holder Orvill McKenzie.
l FOR ticket info, call Tracey on 07861 226986.