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Saunders to take on Murray in belt defence

Billy Joe Saunders will defend his WBO world super-middleweight title against English rival Martin Murray at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Dec. 4 after missing out on Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs), a former world middleweight champion, had been linked with a fight against Mexican Alvarez earlier this year, but the global coronavirus pandemic disrupted those plans.

Saunders, 31, from Hatfield, will instead make a second defence of the belt against Murray after knocking out Marcelo Esteban Coceres in Los Angeles in his last outing almost a year ago.

“I haven’t boxed for a year and I really do miss being in the ring,” Saunders said in a statement. “The coronavirus pandemic has affected everybody in many ways, and it has had a big impact on the sport of boxing. The Canelo Alvarez fight falling through was very frustrating for me but now the journey continues in December.

“Martin and I were supposed to fight twice before but it didn’t happen either time. He said some stuff and so did I, so let’s see who can back it up.”

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn said Saunders missed out on a lucrative fight with Canelo earlier this year.

“We were 24 hours away from an announcement for Billy to fight Canelo when the pandemic hit and so it throws up the final roll of the dice for Martin Murray who will give it everything on December 4,” Hearn said.

Murray (39-5-1, 17 KOs), 38, from St Helens, incredibly gets a fifth shot at becoming a world title after unsuccessful attempts against Arthur Abraham, Gennadiy Golovkin, Sergio Martinez and Felix Sturm (draw).

Spectators are not allowed at professional sports events in the United Kingdom at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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