Billy Joe Saunders beats Shefat Isufi to win WBO super-middleweight world title in Stevenage

Sports Staff

Billy Joe Saunders has become a two-weight world champion after winning the vacant WBO super-middleweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Shefat Isufi at the Lamex Stadium in Stevenage.

Having stepped up from middleweight, he eased to scores of 120-108, 117-111 and 118-110 from the three ringside judges.

Saunders was also fighting for the first time since reuniting with trainer Ben Davison, who also oversees Tyson Fury's fight preparations.

The 29-year-old briefly appeared hurt in the sixth round, when he took a strong right hand, but he otherwise outclassed his Albanian opponent.

“He caught me in the sixth,” admitted Saunders. “It didn't have me where my legs were gone. I haven't been in a meaningful fight for 14 months. He's number one with the WBO for a reason so he's obviously good.

“My boxing ability will always get me further in the sport I believe.

“I want the big fights, the big names. The big domestic fights, unification fights. I moved up from middleweight as none of them would fight me.”

Earlier in the night British heavyweight Joe Joyce, a 2016 Olympic silver medallist, extended his record to nine wins from nine when a left hook in the third round floored 42-year-old Alexander Ustinov.