at the Liverpool Olympia on the undercard of Stephen Smith’s World title eliminator.
Saunders said after the fight, “Both hands gone, back to the theatre for me. My hands just won’t hold up. Left hand went the second round, right the fourth.”
Garrido put in his best performance of late, harrying Saunders throughout and eventually flooring him in the sixth round just before an intentional head-butt forced referee Steve Grey to disqualify the Matchroom fighter, producing the biggest upset of the night.
The Frenchman, nicknamed ‘Le Lion’ has never been stopped in his 11 losses and recently took former WBO European light-welterweight champion Serhiy Fedchenko (33-3) into the trenches with a mixed decision in New York in May this year, losing by just two points on two of the judges’ scorecards, the third official ruling as a draw.
With only two stoppages from his previous 14 victories, it was likely to be a long night in store for both boxers.
The former Beijing 2008 Olympian started the fight brightly, using his effective, stiff jab to keep Garrido at bay during the first three rounds and landing some stinging one-twos, uppercuts and body shots.
The 32-year-old travelling opponent from Marseille kept up a tight guard throughout and pressed forward constantly, forcing the home fighter to work hard.
In the fourth round of the eight round contest, Garrido upped the work rate and begun to throw a lot more punches, effectively landing a few flurries and drawing Saunders into a scrap at times who found himself with his backs to the ropes on more than a few occasions.
In the fifth round, Garrido increased the pressure even further, eating up a lot of Saunders’ punches and continuing to press undaunted.
The sixth and final round saw Saunders under duress from the ‘Lion’ to the point where the Marseille man chased him across the ring, swarming him with unending punches, eventually resulting in a knockdown exactly midway through the round, although the argument could be presented that it was more of a clumsy stumble.
Saunders commented on the knockdown, “No. it wasn’t a knockdown, that. I was off-balance.”
Garrido sensed the opportunity to grab the upset and threw punch after punch, causing the 12-time national amateur champion to breathe heavily and just try to survive to the end of the round, glancing at his corner regularly.
Then came the bizarre conclusion to the action-packed, dramatic fight, an exhausted Saunders leaned in with his head producing an agonising protest from the Frenchman who travelled to the adjacent corner, putting his head through the ropes, seemingly, in a world of pain.
Referee, Steve Grey instantly disqualified Saunders and the French victor immediately came out from his torture to celebrate the result wildly. It was a performance that even Ashley Young would have been inspired by.
The light-welterweight ace from County Durham dropped down to a 12-1 record and certainly displayed signs of ring-rust in the later rounds after being out of action for half a year.
Saunders injured his right hand ahead of a scheduled Commonwealth title fight with former champion Dave Ryan who handed over his Commonwealth and WBC International belts to challenger John Wayne Hibbert on September 12th
at the O2 Arena in London after developing a back injury in the 10th
round of their third fight in the series, now scored at 2-1 to Ryan.
Prior to that injury, the Sedgefield boxer had broken his left hand during his only other eight-round contest with Peter McDonagh in November 2012.
In a recent interview with iFL TV, Saunders claimed to have plagued with troubled hands for two years during his three and half years in the paid ranks.
A disappointed Saunders immediately called for the rematch after the fight which was the first with MGM’s top trainer Danny Vaughan in the corner.
He said, “It is what it is, I’m not going to lie, I went in with my head.
"I don’t want to go out on getting beat, I’ll learn from it.”
The main event of the evening, Stephen ‘Swifty’ Smith earned an IBF title shot by stopping Devis Boschiero in six one-sided rounds.
Gary Buckland suffered a shock defeat to local lad Sean Dodd in a British lightweight title eliminator.
Marcus Morrison announced himself on the Sky Sports screens with a stunning first-round win. The Manchester youngster blew Michael Mora away with a big right and then moved in for the kill, only for the referee to step in and call a halt with the towel thrown in.
To follow Bradley Saunders on Twitter click here @bradsaunders86
Bradley would like to thank his sponsors ESRG Group
and Muscle World HQ
and The Sofa & Bed Store
and his team at the MGM
plus manager Daniel Kinahan
and PR Manager Tim Rickson
s comeback fight from injury following a six month layoff after rupturing tendons in his right hand, Bradley Saunders (12-1) broke both hands, suffering his first career defeat via disqualification to tough Frenchman Renald Garrido (15-11-1) on September 19