Billy Joe Saunders moves up in weight to fight for vacant WBO super-middleweight title

The controversial former British Olympian will face Shefat Isufi on the undercard of Warrington-Galahad at Wembley Arena.

Saunders will fight at 168 pounds in a bid to become two-weight world champion.
Saunders will fight at 168 pounds in a bid to become two-weight world champion.
Image: Nick Potts

FORMER WBO WORLD middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders will face Shefat Isufi for the same organisation’s vacant title up at super-middle on 13 April, it has been confirmed.

Saunders will move from 160 pounds to 168 in his bid to become a two-weight world champion when he faces the German-based Serbian at Wembley Arena on the undercard of Josh Warrington’s world-title defence against Kid Galahad.

The 29-year-old former British Olympic bronze medalist [27-0, 13KOs] made his ring return in December, dusting off the cobwebs in a points win over Charles Adamu having weighed a full 178.5lbs on the scales the previous day.

Former middleweight titlist Saunders forfeited his belt after he tested positive for oxilofrine — banned by VADA, who had conducted the voluntary test — in September, which caused the cancellation of his defence against now-WBO 160-pound champion Demetrius Andrade in Boston.

In Isufi [27-3-2, 20KOs], he faces an unheralded fellow challenger who drew two of his opening three bouts as a professional, and lost three times between 2014 and 2015 before going on his recent 10-fight win streak.

Isufi is also 29 but hasn’t fought since a points win over Mohamed El Achi last July.

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A week after relinquishing his title, Saunders was fined £100,000 by the British Boxing Board of Control following a misconduct hearing regarding his role in an online video that was described by police as “sickening”.

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