It was announced on February 18 that Billy Joe Saunders (27-0, 13KO) was bidding to become a two-weight world champion when he challenges for the vacant WBO super-middleweight world title against Shefat Isufi (27-3-2, 20KO) at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday April 13, live on BT Sport.
Unknown to UK fight fans, BBN went out of their way to discover 10 interesting facts about Billy Joe Saunders' next opponent, Shefat Isufi:
1. Shefat, now 29, was born in Veliki Trnovac, Serbia on January 22, 1990. He can look back on a happy childhood, where his parents ran a small grocery store that made a good living for the family, and the academic graduated from grammar school in Albania at the age of 19.
2. Shefat started his amateur career at the age of 10 and won the Kosovar boxing championship at 16. In addition, Shefat received the award from the Kosovo Boxing Federation for being the best junior boxer of his age and weight class in 2006 and again in 2007. His father, Nasuf, was a big fan of boxing and main influence in young Shefat's career, but he sadly died early on in his life and Shefat made a promise to his father on his deathbed that he would become a champion.
3. He drew with Ali Chakiev (8-1) on his pro debut in 2010, then drew again in his third pro fight just two months later, not getting off to the best of starts as a paid puncher. He then improved his record vastly by defeating five debutants in a row to reach 6-0-1 in his first two years as a pro. Bizarrely, he has shared the ring with nine debutants altogether during his nine-year career, beating all but one of them.
4. His first career defeat came in his maiden title fight for the IBF Youth World cruiserweight title in 2014 against Dennis Ronert (19-0). He then doubled his defeat count after travelling to Athens just 14 days later, losing to debutant Tasos Berdesis over six-rounds.
5. He landed his very first title in the form of the WBC Eurasian Pacific cruiserweight belt in 2015. He then dropped down to light-heavyweight in 2015 to challenge for the vacant WBC Eurasian Pacific light-heavyweight title, but was beaten by Darius Sek via eighth-round stoppage
6. Isufi then claimed the IBF East/West European light-heavyweight title in his 24th fight and further added the PABA (Pan Asian Boxing Association) light-heavyweight belt in the very next fight
7. The road to glory first started in 2017 when he landed the super-middleweight title with an 11th-round knockout over David Zegarra (31-1).
8. He is now ranked #1 with the WBO after successfully defending the WBO strap twice, leading to his forthcoming World title shot with Billy Joe Saunders
9. He has boxed 152 rounds over 32 bouts in six different countries, clocking up a fearsome 74% KO ratio
10. His 32 opponents, plus forthcoming opponent BJS, have a combined record of 383-169-21