Billy Joe Saunders swaps Queensberry Promotions for Matchroom

Bille Joe Saunders signs for Matchroom | Image by Declan Taylor

Written by Adam McGroarty (@AdamMcGroarty1)

In a statement released on Friday 2 August, Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions announced their “amicable” parting with Billy Joe Saunders.

The partnership between Warren and Saunders has lasted the entirety of the super middleweight’s professional career, which has seen the 29-year-old win all of his 28 fights, 13 by knockout.

The duo first formed in 2008 after the Beijing Olympic Games. Under the watchful eye of Warren, Saunders went on to win British, Commonwealth and European titles, as well as becoming a two-weight World Champion.

Saunders, who most recently claimed a unaminous points decision victory over Shefat Isufi in May, is currently ranked as the fourth best super middleweight in the world.  The names that surround Saunders in the rankings are those that fans are demanding to see in the ring with the WBO Super Middleweight World Champion, who is now trained by Ben Davison – the trainer of Tyson Fury.

In an official statement, Frank Warren said: “I’m personally very fond of Billy Joe and I wish him every success in the remainder of his career.”

Billy Joe Saunders added: “I just want to say a massive thank you to Frank for everything he has done for my career over the past decade.

“Frank signed me after the 2008 Olympics and was with me every step of the way as I won the British, Commonwealth and European titles before becoming a world champion in two divisions.

“It feels a little bittersweet and I’ll always be appreciative for everything Frank has done for me. We’ll stay close.”

Big Fights Ahead under Hearn?

It was officially announced on Tuesday 13 August that Billy Joe Saunders has signed a multi-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing. This move has excited many fight fans, as it unlocks the gateway towards many big fights.

Callum Smith, ranked as the best super middleweight on the planet, has been tipped to make a potential blockbuster fight with Saunders in the future. Smith, who currently holds the WBA Super Middleweight title, is managed by Matchroom and promoted by Saunders’ new man, Eddie Hearn.

Not only does this deal make the Smith fight easier to make, but it also heightens the possibility of bouts with current giants of the division, Gennady Golovkin and Canelo. Both currently fight on DAZN, a new broadcast platform which teams up with Matchroom to exclusively showcase fights to American audiences – which would certainly help negotiations over a potential fight.

Bridging the Broadcast Rivalry

Saunders joining Matchroom would massively simplify negotiations to make the huge fights, which will also see Saunders and Davison on action live on Sky Sports Box Office. Television may only seem a minor part of the deal, but Saunders leaving BT Sport to join Matchroom, televised on Sky, would breach the potential issue of broadcasting in negotiations.

The same broadcasting rights would also be an issue when making a deal for a fight between domestic heavyweight giants Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. ‘The Gypsy King’ currently fights on BT Sport, whereas Joshua’s fights are televised on Sky Sports. But if Fury was to eventually change broadcasters and fight on Sky again, which his close friend Billy Joe Saunders looks set to do, a fight between Fury and Joshua would one day seem likely.

The opportunities with Billy Joe Saunders are endless

A press conference was held on Tuesday 13 August to announce Matchroom’s acquisition of Billy Joe Saunders. Eddie Hearn, Saunders’ new promoter, said: “a lot of the big fights at Middleweight eluded him for many reasons, but now, with us, there is a lot of money to be made from fighting Billy Joe Saunders.

“Here you have a world class pound-for-pound fighter that has the ability and the option to box in two weight divisions. When you look at the fighters that we are involved with, the opportunities with Billy Joe Saunders are endless.”

Saunders added: “Financially, it is not about the money for me anymore, it is about being the best. Seeing Canelo and Golovkin fight, everyone was raving about them, I know that I can beat them.

“It’s time for me to prove that I can’t only talk the talk, but I can walk the walk. I know that with Eddie’s Matchroom and DAZN, I will get that chance.”