Fight me or drop the belt - Billy Joe issues ultimatum to champion Gilberto Ramirez

PUBLISHED: 13:22 16 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:22 16 April 2019

Boxing promoter Frank Warren and Billy Joe Saunders announce his next fight against Shefat Isufi at the Lamex stadium, home of Stevenage FC. Picture: DANNY LOO

Boxing promoter Frank Warren and Billy Joe Saunders announce his next fight against Shefat Isufi at the Lamex stadium, home of Stevenage FC. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

Billy Joe Saunders has challenged WBO super-middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez to face him or ditch his world title.

The Mexican hinted after a winning debut at light-heavyweight debut at the weekend that his future belongs in the bigger division.

But he will be ordered to face the winner of Saunders' WBO interim super-middleweight championship bout with Shefat Isufi at Stevenage's Lamex Stadium on May 18.

And the only way that won't happen is if he relinquishes the title he has held for three years.

Hatfield's Saunders, the former WBO middleweight champion, said: “I am raring to go for Ramirez but if he doesn't want to face me then give up the title and let me fight for the full championship.

“If it's not going to happen against me after my 'interim' title fight then I would rather him say now.

“I understand the rules of boxing. If you haven't got the right style, opponents may not want to know you.

“His promoter Bob Arum has a good working relationship with Frank Warren and MTK, and he has most probably had a conversation with Ramirez.

“They know they can make the fight, but do they want it?

“Personally myself, I don't think Ramirez will go ducking anybody, but unless he 100 per-cent knows he's good at the weight I can't see him taking the chance of fighting me.

“My way of winning fights is slick boxing so that takes a lot of steam out of the opponent especially if you're weight-drained.”

The May battle with Isufi will see the 29-year-old Saunders fight just 12 miles from his Hatfield home.

And although less than half of his wins have come inside the distance, Saunders reckons the open-air crowd at the Lamex Stadium are in for a knockout night.

Saunders who is currently training in Manchester added: “I will carry more power up with me. We have been working on a few bits and bobs to improve my power.

“I've been sparring well, my timing is there, my speed is still there, but I have got to perform at the weight.”

Tickets are now on sale at www.borotickets.co.uk

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