The 2008 Olympic gold medallist surged onto the offensive early on in their main event encounter at Bethnal Green’s York Hall, refusing to allow Fletcher to settle, and bloodied the challenger upon scoring a knockdown with a brutal barrage in round two.
Though Fletcher, fighting for the first time outside his native homeland, beat the count, he was soon on the receiving end of another Saunders flurry and the referee swiftly stepped in.
The fight was the Hatfield resident’s second defence of his strap and a battle of two undefeated runs. Saunders’ record moves to 15-0 with his 10th knockout victory in inflicting a first defeat upon the Aussie.
In the other two marquee bouts of the ‘Three Lions’ card promoted by Frank Warren, Bradley Skeete overcame the rugged Peter McDonagh to lift the vacant Southern area welterweight championship, while the popular Frank Buglioni stopped late substitute Joe Rea in the second.
Skeete struggled to come to terms with the burly style of McDonagh, who exploited his opponent’s inexperience by moving inside and connecting with a series of strong shots.
The Penge resident eventually began to ease into his opponent’s rhythm and keep him at bay with his jab before landing some slick combinations in the closing rounds to seal a points decision and move to 13-0.
Super-middleweight Buglioni, meanwhile, was in a different class to Rea from the opening bell, knocking the replacement fighter down three times in total before the bout was halted.
The emphatic win sent the scores of devoted Buglioni fans in East London into raptures and improved the Repton Boxing Club graduate’s record to 6-0 with his fourth KO.
There were further extensions of fledgling unbeaten runs lower on the card, where lightweight Billy Morgan went 7-0 with an eight-round points win in his rematch with Youssef Al Hamidi, while featherweight Mitchell Smith impressed with a four-round decision over Pavel Senkovs for three wins in three contests.