Billy Joe Saunders has his opponent for first title defense
September 30, 2016
WBO World Middleweight champ Billy Joe Saunders will face Russian boxer Artur Akavov (16-1, 7 KO’s) on October 27th. This will be Saunders’ first defense of his WBO title, and will be his first fight in the last 10 months..
Akavov is a 28 year old southpaw, who has earned the nickname “Wolverine.” He has won his past 11 fights dating back to 2012. He said this of the fight: “I promise to prove that the Saunders camp were gravely mistaken with whatever they were expecting of me in the ring. I represent my family first and my country and that alone will not let me fail.”
If Saunders can beat Akavov, he could be lining himself up for a showdown against Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin. It’s no secret that Golovkin is itching to face Saunders. If Golovkin wins, he would hold all four of the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO middleweight titles.
On the other hand, as Dan Rafael points out at ESPN, Saunders had called out Golovkin previously but then turned down the chance to actually fight him after Golovkin’s camp offered him seven figures to make the bout happen. Saunders then could have faced Gabriel Rosado, Willie Monroe Jr. or Curtis Stevens on the undercard of Canelo Vs. Liam Smith for the chance to next face Canelo, but Saunders turned that down as well, wanting to face Akavov. Golden Boy would not put that on their card, however.
So now Saunders has gotten the fight he wanted. Do you think this is a worthy title defense, or is Saunders just treading water and avoiding the tough fights?