Billy Joe Saunders to wait for world title fight as Andy Lee takes on Peter Quillin
Last Updated: 06/02/15 12:12pm
Mandatory challenger Billy Joe Saunders has stepped aside to allow Andy Lee to defend his WBO middleweight title against Peter Quillin in April.
Saunders, who is the current British, Commonwealth, European and WBO International champion, could make his American debut on the undercard of the Lee bout, with a clash against the winner up next.
Promoter Frank Warren reportedly won a purse bid earlier this week for Saunders to face mandatory European challenger Michel Soro, a Frenchman who boasts a 24-1-1 record.
The unbeaten Hatfield fighter is happy to be patient and wait for his first chance at a world title, which could come as early as this summer.
Saunders told frankwarren.tv: "As any boxer would if they had the opportunity to fight for the world title they would want it immediately, that's the business we're in, I want to prove that I'm the best in the world and I believe that I can beat Lee or Quillin right now.
The fight will only get bigger and bigger, so the timing needs to be right and it needs to wait until the summer.
Billy Joe Saunders on a future fight with Andy Lee
"Frank's right in that the fight between me and Lee, if he defends his title against Quillin, will be a massive fight and needs to be held on the biggest stage and that's a football stadium, the fight will only get bigger and bigger, so the timing needs to be right and it needs to wait until the summer.
"Whilst I've got to be patient for my world title shot, the chance to fight in New York in my first pro fight in the US is a dream I've had since I started boxing and it's massive buzz for me to show my skill in front of the American fight fans."
Previous winners of the WBO middleweight belt include greats Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank, Steve Collins, Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins. Saunders would love to add his name to that list, while Warren thinks it could be a significant few months for the division.
Saunders said: "To fight for the WBO middleweight belt that has been held by British greats like Benn, Eubank, Collins and also Chris Pyatt, plus legends like De La Hoya and Hopkins is what I'm in this sport for, history and glory."
Warren added: "This is a significant moment in the British middleweight division.
"With Chris Eubank Jr challenging Interim WBA world champion Dmitry Chudinov on February 28 at the O2 Arena, and providing Saunders wins the WBO title, then it will pave the way for a huge unification rematch between the bitter rivals, bringing back memories of the big, classic, fights in the division's golden era between Benn, Eubank and Michael Watson."