Billy Joe Saunders to Face American Foe, Says Hearn

Billy Joe Saunders will have an American opponent for his US debut in November, although Eddie Hearn, his promoter, has repeatedly denied rumours that he would be facing Gabriel Rosado.

Saunders, the WBO super-middleweight champion, will be defending his title at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on November 9 on a bill topped by internet celebrities Logan Paul and KSI.

Hearn said they had made requests to the WBO for the opponent to be from outside their top 15. He hinted that the likely opponent was rated by other governing bodies, which would most likely mean Caleb Truax, the former IBF champion.

“The WBO top-15 is very thin so we have some other fights in consideration,” Hearn said. “We looked at Australians and Germans but, in America, it is not the same.”

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Hearn suggested that Saunders’s fight would most likely be shown in the UK on a regular Sky Sports show, which would then go into pay-per-view for the Paul-KSI clash. Devin Haney, the interim WBC lightweight champion, will also be on the bill, but Hearn said that there would be no place for Paul’s brother, Jake, who had boxed KSI’s brother on the undercard of their original fight in Manchester.

Hearn said he hopes Saunders can tap in to the internet stars’ fame to help boost his own fanbase.

“Billy is going to be doing build-up media stuff with KSI and training videos, they usually get a million views,” Hearn said. “I would get 30k-40k to do anything like that on Sky Sports 1.”

He also denied that the main event would be any worse than fights he has previously promoted.

“I have seen a lot of professional fights that look like they are between two white-collar fighters,” Hearn said. “Some of the international opponents I have had to bring over from Eastern Europe have been 10x worse than these two fighting.

“They are fit, professionally trained and have done it before. There is an element of danger now because it is 10oz gloves and no headguard but I think that is where a lot of the interest comes from. “They took so many punches last time with headguards and big gloves on, that will not happen this time. I am pretty sure someone will get knocked out in the KSI vs Paul Logan fight but I am sure that is what people want to see but that’s we have made them undergo professional medicals and medically approved.

“I saw them last week they are in great shape and I believe someone will get knocked out in this rematch. These guys are going to take risks and chances but they have hardly got any respect for stepping through the ropes. If I was walking out in front of 20,000 people I would be shitting myself.

“They don’t know what they’re letting themselves in for and once they get hit, all the training will go out of the window. DAZN will get 500,000 subscribers.

“Who knows where this is going to go? I would like to tell you this is a one-off, but ask me on November 10.”

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