Fast rising light welterweight prospect from Sedgefield, Bradley Saunders has received confirmation of his next fight against Ville Piispanen of Finland for the vacant WBO Intercontinental light welterweight title on June 7th at Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.
Saunders 9(7)-0-0 commented on the news, "I fight Ville Piispanen of Finland for the WBO Intercontinental title 7th June in Newcastle Arena. We do the job like I have been and I will be in the top 10 in WBO world rankngs. Huge fight for myself and appreciate all the support am getting."
30 year old opponent Ville Piispanen from Lahti, Finland has a good record of 18(6)-4(1)-3 and six in his last ten fights have been title challenges, successfully claiming the EBU light welterweight title back in 2010.
Of his opponent, Saunders stated, “The kid I am fighting has asked for me, we knew this was happening three weeks ago and he boxed Saturday for a warm up fight 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.”
Confirmation of this title opportunity has been welcome news for Saunders, 28 years old from Sedgefield, after several disappointments following his last fight. Frank Warren publicly offered £50k for newly crowned British light welterweight champion Curtis Woodhouse to defend his title against Saunders only to decline the substantial bid to challenge Commonwealth champion Willie Limond instead in Glasgow this June.
The BBBofC then ordered the British light welterweight title eliminator between Saunders and former British champion Lenny Daws with the contest to take place by the end of June 2014. Two times British champion 'Lightning' Lenny Daws added further disappointment when he pulled out of the scheduled fight.
Saunders has enjoyed a rapid rise to success since turning professional in 2012 following an illustrious amateur career. The previous two years has seen the County Durham star enter the pro ranks in February 2012 with a third round stoppage over Jason Nesbitt in York Hall, London to achieve a top ten position in the UK light welterweight division and earn a shot at his first title still unbeaten.
A win for the hard hitting Saunders could propel him into the WBO top ten world rankings in just his tenth fight, where Ruslan Provodnikov, Juan Manuel Marquez and Lucas Matthysse all currently occupy the top spots. Home advantage, current form and taking into account the huge crowds that Saunders draws to all his fights means all three factors could play a big part for the unbeaten County Durham star.
Headlining the summer show titled ‘Rampage’ will be reigning IBF bantamweight champion Stuart Hall 16(7)-2-2 as he defends his title for the second time against unbeaten Paul Butler 15(8)-0-0.
Hall, from Darlington, retained his title against Martin Ward last month on a technical decision after just two rounds and is promising a more conclusive result this time against the undefeated 'Baby Faced Assassin'.
Reigning champion Hall stated, "Paul's a good young fighter, but this opportunity has come too soon for him. I've grown into being a world champion and I'm not letting my world title go. I'm too big and strong for him and it will show on the night. I'll never underestimate him, but I'll guarantee that I'll be leaving the ring with the world title on the night.”
Challenger Paul Butler currently unbeaten in 15 fights is relishing the opportunity, “Since I was 10 years old, this is the moment I've dreamed of and to be fighting a British fighter, who's the world champion, for his world title is fantastic," he said.
The undercard features British champion Jon-Lewis Dickinson 15(4)-2-(2)-0 and Commonwealth king Ovill McKenzie 22(11)-12(3)-0 in a winner-takes-all fight as they both put their respected titles on the line in this tantalising cruiserweight match up.
In a fight that could easily headline its own show, Dickinson stated, “The fans are great in the North East and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Jamaican-born ‘The Upsetter’ Ovill McKenzie has good scalps on his ledger, including former world champion Enzo Maccarinelli, and also memorably had Tony Bellew on the canvas once.
Middlesbrough’s unbeaten light welterweight Josh Leather 4(1)-0-0 makes his fifth professional appearance as he takes a step against Liverpool southpaw Tommy Carus 6-1-0. Both talented young fighters, aged 22 years old, will be looking to continue their rise through the ranks, promising to be a six rounds of hard fought action for the fans to enjoy.
Yet another notable fight will be Sunderland’s English lightweight champion Kirk Goodings 11(3)-1-0 defending his title against Sheffield’s Jamie Sampson 9-1-0.
Also appearing will be County Durham’s Thomas Patrick Ward 7(1)-0-0 as he enters into a risky fight against Michael Ramabeletsa 12(5)-12(1)-0 over six rounds.
Doncaster’s Dave Allen will be looking to extend his unbeaten run against Plamen Nikolov 1(1)-1-2.
Sunderland’s Jordan King 2-0-0 takes on James Child 1-11(2)-0 in a four rounder at light heavyweight.
Wales’ Rhys Evans 2-0-0 continues at a steady pace against veteran journeyman Kristian Laight 9-176(4)-7.
Light middleweight Lewis Scott 3(3)-0-0, looks to continue his perfect record over four rounds, opponent to be confirmed.
Hall v Butler will be live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/HD 490 and Virgin Ch. 546).
Tickets priced at £40, £75, £150 and £200 are available directly from Team Saunders on 07861 226986.