News May 2019

Saunders primed for Prince; dares McCloskey to reschedule aborted fight


By Michael J Jones

Tonight in Newcastle boxing stars of the North East are show-cased in Dennis Hobsonís ďClash of ClansĒ bill. Behind headliners including IBF bantamweight champion Stuart Hallís first world title defence and British ruler Jon Lewis Dickinson will be the latest outing of Sedgefield prospect Bradley Saunders.

The former outstanding amateur is currently 8-0 (6) in the paid code and is looking to make a big impact in the light-welterweight ranks this year. The County Durham puncher has impressed hugely so far in his first two years as a pro dispatching several tough opponents with clinical ease.

Facing Saunders tonight will be Scotlandís tough Mitch Prince. The two will box over ten rounds in a none-title bout marking the first time Saunders will potentially have been past eight rounds. Prince is a late replacement for Irishman Paul McCloskey who pulled out last week with a knee injury. Prince, originally from South Africa, has a decent 12-2-2 (1) record and has boxed for the Commonwealth title as well as winning a Masters belt on two occasions.

Saunders though seems something special and many are already tipping him as a future world champion. The 28-year-old, promoted by Frank Warren, has been training hard at the MGM gym in Marbella, Spain under coaches Seamus Macklin (brother of Matthew) and Danny Vaughn and has made no secret recently of feeling the divisionís big guns are already avoiding him.

Livefight caught up with Bradley just after yesterdayís weigh-in for a quick chat-

LF) So, did you make weight ok today?

BS) That is honestly the best Iíve ever made weight. It shows just what difference a proper training camp can do because even going back to the amateurs thatís the easiest making light-welterweight has ever been for me. The weight limit was 10st 1lb and I came in at just over 139lbs and that was after eating a cereal bar this morning so I really didnít push the weight too much. I could have lost more if Iíd needed to.

LF) Your opponent for tomorrowís show is Mitch Prince who seems a decent test?

BS) Yes I think itís almost definitely my toughest opponent to date. Heís had 16 fights and I give him credit because heís coming to win. Heís not some journeyman heís got his own ambitions and is confident but itís up to me to put a stop to those ambitions.

LF) He has never been stopped and has gone the distance with Willie Limond is an inside victory a goal for you?

BS) No I donít look to knock someone out Iíd never do that but obviously if I see him open to certain punches that are hurting him or he starts to tire then Iím going to try and finish him off. The shape Iím in Iím fit for twenty rounds so either way Iím ready.

LF) I read recently that you feel some of the higher ranking fighters at your weight are avoiding you?

BS) I just think itís sensible for some of the (higher ranking fighters) to avoid me. Iím a tough night for anyone right now and can bang so if a guy can pick an easier fight and keep winning then itís understandable.

Paul McCloskey pulled out against me but weíll see if that injury was genuine when we try and reschedule. I personally think it was nonsense and he wasnít actually injured. If he agrees to fight me next then weíll know.

LF) A writer is meant to sit on the fence but I think you could beat British champion Curtis Woodhouse right now; is that a fight youíll be chasing this year?

BS) Thank you. I think all UK boxers want to win a British title. I won the British as an amateur but itís only recently as Iíve grown up and matured as a fighter that Iíve really wanted to box for the British title. I doubt he wants to defend against me but Iíll hopefully be the mandatory contender soon so I can get my chance.

LF) You are a part of the biggest boxing show in the North East for many years and I hear youíve sold a thousand tickets. Thatís pretty impressive?

BS) I just canít thank the North East boxing fans enough. Iíve been training at the MGM gym in Spain and left the ticket sales to my mam Tracy and my website so I didnít know how many tickets had been sold. To sit at the press conference and hear Iíve sold a thousand tickets was unbelievable. I canít thank the fans and my team enough I really canít.

LF) Thereís many good fights involving local fighters tomorrow do you think itíll be a North East whitewash on the night?

BS) You know itís just great we are all on the same bill on a show like this. I firmly believe the North East is one of the best boxing regions in Britain and itís about time we all stuck together to show what we can do. I hope thereíll be more shows like this in the very near future.

LF) Thanks for your time Bradley.

BS) Ok thank you.

Footnote: Bradleyís mum Tracy is an ABA official and has been judging amateur fights for two years as well as helping promote her talented son. The Sedgefield prospectís father is also in the fight game as head coach at South Durham ABC (who Bradley used to box for).

Prediction: Mitch Prince is known as the ďPrince of PassionĒ but Saunders may prove to be the ďPrince of PainĒ tonight. Prince has been down a few times in his career and has never fought a heavy-handed type of boxer like Saunders who is also technically sound and has a big advantage in height and reach. Bradley, roared on by the home crowd, can win inside of five rounds.

You follow Bradley on Twitter @bradsaunders86

Stuart Hall-Martin Ward IBF world Bantamweight title fight will be live and exclusive on Box Nation tonight with chief support from Jon Lewis Dickinson vs Neil Dawson, Frankie Gavin, Bradley Saunders and Kirk Goodings.

Footage begins at 7pm Sky channel 437 and 490 for HD viewers.

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