Billy Joe Saunders insists is not overlooking his domestic rivals
Billy Joe Saunders believes he is ready to fight for a world title, but will not be overlooking his domestic rivals.
Last Updated: 03/07/13 4:00pm
The Beijing Olympian takes on Gary O'Sullivan for the WBO international title on July 20 and will then defend his British title against another unbeaten fighter in John Ryder in September.
The busy schedule is keeping Saunders happy following periods on the sidelines when a recurring hand injury threatened to de-rail his career.
Far from taking O'Sullivan lightly, Saunders insists he is seizing the chance to fight for O'Sullivan's title, which would secure him a ranking and pave the way for a shot at the world title next year.
Saunders said: "Beijing feels like yesterday but time flies in this game and it is important you take your chances when you get them. It is definitely not a case of under-estimating O'Sullivan.
"I set a goal when I turned professional to become British and Commonwealth champion. My next goal is to become world champion. I'm already a world-class fighter and I'm going to move on to bigger and better things."
A 17-0 record bears out his claim that he did the right thing in choosing to turn professional at 18 after the Games, rather than wait another four years, and he believes that is the right choice of the 2012 Olympians too.
"Fighting for your country and going to an Olympics is great, but that's really the pinnacle whether you win a medal or not," he said.
"You go to an Olympics then it's time to turn professional give the next generation the chance. It wasn't a difficult decision for me and I never had any regrets. I got a good offer and I made the most of it."
Saunders is currently fighting at middleweight but would not baulk at the chance of moving up a division if an opprtunity presented itself.
"I don't want easy fights," he added. "I will take on anyone who is put in front of me. If there's a big money fight available at six pounds heavier I'd definitely go there."