Billy Joe Saunders has confirmed he will make his return to the ring this year after more than two years of inactivity.
The last time Saunders fought was against Canelo Alvarez back in 2021 on Cinco De Mayo weekend for the WBA (Super), WBC and WBO Super Middleweight Championships.
Despite being competitive against Canelo for seven rounds, Saunders suffered a fractured eye socket in the 8th round, forcing him to withdraw from the contest.
Since coming up short in the biggest fight of his career, it has been well documented that Saunders gained a lot of unnecessary weight. However, the former two-division world champion is confident he will be in fighting shape soon.
“We’re just in the gym at the minute, ticking away, getting some weight off”, Saunders said in an interview with iFL TV.
“Listen, it’s always the way when people’s talking about stuff. People waiting for it rather than it just happened. Turn up in shape and look here I am ready.
“So that’s what we’re working on at the minute. It’s just nothing but shedding a bit of weight. Just a long slog at the minute.
“I spoke to Eddie [Hearn] the other day, gave him a text. Obviously, we’re both in contact. Soon as I have lost a bit of timber, haven’t got much to go. I say not much but still two stone, two and a half stone but that’s nothing this day and age.
“I’m always used to that in my career and I’ll fight when I’m good, ready and in shape. I’m sure it won’t be too long. Definitely this year anyway.”
Billy Joe Saunders On Why He Is making a comeback
Now 33 years old, Billy Joe Saunders is in the twilight stages of his career. Regardless, Saunders is making a comeback because he misses boxing.
“I know I’ve been out of the ring for two years. I need to make sure that I start my own self-training a bit more smart. Rather than killing myself and slug. I’m not getting any younger. But I miss the sport so it would be nice to get back in there and give a little bit back. And there’s some big fights out there to be made so I’m looking forward to them.”
Indeed, if the Hertfordshire native can drop the pounds there could be some lucrative domestic matchups against the likes of John Ryder and Chris Eubank Jr.
Saunders and Eubank Jr shared the ring almost ten years ago at the ExCel Arena, Dockland. Billy Joe Saunders emerged victorious with a split-decision and since then there has been no love lost between the two British rivals who have spoken bitterly about each other in several interviews.
Eubank Jr is scheduled to have a rematch with Liam Smith on July 1st, yet win or lose a bout against Saunders will always be a lucrative proposition due to their past history.
Ryder, on the other hand, is coming off a brave and impressive performance against Canelo Alvarez in Mexico.
Irrespective of losing a wide decision, Ryder’s stock rose from that fight and could prove to be another marketable opponent for Saunders, especially as they also previously fought in the early stages of their professional careers. And similar to his fight with Eubank Jr, Saunders won a close unanimous decision against Ryder on the judges scorecards.
Furthermore, before Billy Joe Saunders began his hiatus from the squared circle, he was widely regarded as one of the best fighters at 160 and 168 lbs. Therefore, if the former WBO Champion can string a few notable wins together, it is possible he could challenge for a world title one last time before he officially hangs up his gloves.