Billy Joe Saunders beats Emanuele Blandamura to win European middleweight title
Last Updated: 27/07/14 10:57am
Billy Joe Saunders won the vacant European middleweight title after stopping Emanuele Blandamura in the eighth round at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester.
The 24-year-old improved his record to 20-0 with 11 knockouts after catching Blandamura with a brilliant right hand which prompted the Italian’s corner to throw in the towel.
Blandamura, who was also unbeaten going into the contest, had until that point been holding his own against the British and Commonwealth champion.
Saunders even looked to be tiring slightly as the fight headed through the middle rounds but found the perfect shot to end any fears of an upset.
The European title fight was elevated to the main event in Manchester after Dereck Chisora pulled out of his grudge match with Tyson Fury, who subsequently withdrew from a rescheduled contest against Alexander Ustinov.
After the bout Saunders was quick to call out fellow unbeaten British middleweight Chris Eubank Jr, who had earlier demolished Croatia’s Ivan Jukic in the first round.
"It was a bit of a letdown of a fight," he said.
"My timing was a bit out after 10 months out but I landed the shot."
He added: "If Eubank wants the fight and he's got a pair, let's fight. If he wants it, let him get in the ring."
Eubank overwhelmed Jukic to take his record to 17-0 (12KOs) after dropping his opponent twice with heavy-handed attacks to head and body.
Also on the card, Liam Smith successfully defended his British light-middleweight title with a sixth-round stoppage of Jason Welborn.
He is now set to face young welshman Liam Williams, who forced his opponent Ronnie Heffron to quit at the end of the sixth round of their final eliminator for the light-middleweight title.
Terry Flanagan won the vacant British lightweight title when Martin Gethin, whose eye was badly cut and swollen, failed to emerge for the eighth round of their clash.