Boxing - Saunders: Gypsy roots a big part of my success

Billy Joe Saunders says his traveller roots play a large role in his preparations for a fight, ahead of his next bout with Matthew Hall.

Eurosport
Boxing - Saunders: I'm ready for elite fights
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Billy Joe Saunders (Neill Hamersley - Eurosport)

Saunders defends his British and Commonwealth middleweight titles – and a 16-fight unbeaten professional record – against Hall at Bethnal Green’s York Hall on March 21.

The 23-year-old will look for his fifth victory at the famed East London venue against 28-year-old Hall (25-6, 16 KOs) but will spend his spare time between training sessions relaxing in his own trademark manner.

“I’ll be riding and racing up the A4141 next Sunday (on a horse and trap),” Saunders said at the face-to-face press conference in nearby Cheshunt. “I get someone to train my horse.

“It’s our background in the gypsy community, it’s our culture so I like to keep it going.”

Though Saunders is proud of his roots, he is eager not to be typecast after he began to develop a nationwide following after being a part of Team GB at the 2008 Beijing Games and then making a bright start as a pro.

He added: “It’s not just for them, I’m doing this for everybody. It’s nice to be able to put a performance on and treat everyone to a good night.”

Victory over Hall is important for Saunders if he is to stake a claim later in the year for a world title opportunity.

“I’m in this game to be world champion and this is a step on the way to that,” he explained.

“I’ve got to take every fight one by one - I’ve just not got to underestimate anyone and do a job and see what I’ve got at that level.

“In my last fight (a points victory over Nick Blackwell at the ExCeL) I was pleased I got through the 12 rounds.

“There were a few adjustments I could have made to my performance, but at the York Hall on the 21st March you’ll see those adjustments, and I’ll put them into action against Hall.”

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