Billy Joe Saunders vs Emmanuel Martey

Billy Joe Saunders will not fight WBO no.12 Emmanuel Martey, despite rumours

Published On Thursday, October 3, 2019By Tim Rickson

Billy Joe Saunders won't be facing the WBO African champion

There was a rumour circulating that got social media into a spin that WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (28-0, 13 KOs) was going to face WBO African champion Emmanuel Martey (15, 11KOs) on the KSI-Logan PauI 2 undercard.

However, 'Superb' Saunders is still awaiting confirmation of his maiden defence of his 168lbs world title on November 9 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles

In an interview with iFL TV, Saunders discussed his possible opponent choices and revealed that it’s not Gabriel Rosado (24-12-1), Fedor Chudinov (21-2) or Maciej Sulecki (28-2), despite certain speculation.

Although Martey is undefeated in 15 fights with 11 knockouts, looking good on paper, his opposition has been less than impressive. He has won two bouts in a row by knockout, winning and subsequently defending the WBO African super-middleweight title in August last year and April this year, respectively. He kicked off his pro career with nine stoppages from his first 10 fights, and has had four title fights in his last five contests, wining the aforementioned WBO strap and, prior to that, he claimed the Ghanaian super-middleweight belt, defending it successfully once.

The brief public response to the erroneous news that a two-weight world titlist could be fighting someone only ranked third in Ghana was far from postive, with many slamming the opponent choice.

Although Martey has not actually been confirmed as the maiden challenger to BJS's 168lbs bauble, the likelihood of a better opponent is dwindling by the day, with less than a month to go.

Saunders, of Hatfield, who will make his US debut, became a two-division world champion in May by outpointing Shefat Isufi to capture the vacant WBO world title.

The 30-year-old southpaw won his first world title in December 2015 when he dropped Andy Lee twice en route to a majority decision to win the WBO middleweight title. He made three defenses before vacating the title after adverse findings following a random drug test, which vetoed any chance of a planned fourth defense of his WBO middleweight belt against mandatory challenger Demetrius Andrade last year. Andrade went on to defeat replacement opponent Walter Kaukondokwa to win the vacant belt, and has made two defenses, and is currently gearing up for a third against Canadian Steven Butler.

Saunders is aiming to secure big fights against the likes of countryman Callum Smith, Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez, and fearsome Kazakh Gennadiy Golovkin.

After splitting with Frank Warren this year, his new promoter Eddie Hearn has already announced his aims to secure a fight with Canelo on Cinco de Mayo 2020.