Undefeated WBO Middleweight titlist Billy Joe Saunders begins his reign against “Mad” Max Bursak on Saturday April 30th at the Copper Box Arena, London.
Saunders headlines a sensational triple-tile fight card that features Ovill McKenzie challenging Dmytro Kucher for the Vacant European Cruiserweight title and British Featherweight Champion Ryan Walsh defending his title against James Tennyson, plus an action packed undercard.
In December, Saunders defeated Andy Lee to take his WBO crown in a close and absorbing fight in Manchester that saw the Hatfield star floor the Irishman twice in the third round and go on to claim a majority decision from the judges.
The skillful, hard-hitting, southpaw knows it’s crucial that he beats Bursak and remains on track to face 160 division king Gennady Golovkin, who holds the WBA Super, IBF and Interim WBC titles, in a mouthwatering clash with all the titles on the line.
In his way, though, stands Ukrainian hardman Mad Max, a former European, WBO Intercontinental, IBF Youth and WBA Continental Middleweight Champion, and veteran of 37 fights and holds a win over current British Champion Nick Blackwell who faces Chris Eubank Jnr.
Bursak, 31, from Kiev, has only lost four times – all by points – against top opposition: Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in an Interim WBO World title fight; Jarrod Fletcher, who Saunders destroyed in two rounds, in a Vacant WBA International title clash, Brit Martin Murray who he extended the distance in a Vacant WBC Silver title fight and undefeated talent Zac Dunn for a Vacant IBO World title at super-middleweight.
Saunders, 26, knows he’s in for a risky first title defence against a dangerous challenger, but says being world champion means he has to deal
“Nothing comes easy in boxing and I’m definitely not taking Bursak for granted. He’s a good, good, fighter and very dangerous and if I don’t come in 100 percent then he could cause an upset in my first title defence. I’ve worked long and hard to get where I am and look at the massive fights ahead of me against the likes of Golovkin. So no, I’m going to make sure I’m in perfect shape and give Bursak the toughest night he’s ever had, he’s never been stopped before so that’s something I’m looking at doing.” Said Saunders.
Bursak replied, “Thank you to Billy Joe Saunders for giving me a shot at the world title. Unfortunately for Saunders, this is going to be his first and last defence of the title because I will be taking the title off him when I face him on Saturday 30th April at the Copper Box Arena. I am telling Saunders to be prepared and train hard because he will be in for the fight of his life and I will be looking for the knockout.”
In the chief support, big-hitting Derby based Jamaican McKenzie has a fantastic opportunity to snatch the Vacant European Cruiserweight against dynamite-punching Ukrainian Dmytro Kucher.
McKenzie controversially lost in his world title challenge last October in Argentina against Victor Ramirez, but now has the chance to step back towards challenging for world honours again if he defeats Kucher.
A sizzling featherweight showdown see all-action Cromer battler Ryan Walsh make the second defence of his British title against his red-hot mandatory challenger from Belfast James Tennyson in the joint chief support.
An action packed undercard will be announced shortly featuring the best in up-and-coming domestic talent.