Saunders claims first title with an overwhelming performance

PUBLISHED: 13:00 10 November 2011

illy Joe Saunders is declared Southern Area middleweight champion by the referee as trainer Jimmy Tibbs looks on

illy Joe Saunders is declared Southern Area middleweight champion by the referee as trainer Jimmy Tibbs looks on

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Billy Joe Saunders claimed his first professional title with a performance that promised there will be more success ahead as he outscored Gary Boulden to win the Southern Area middleweight championship at Wembley on Saturday night.

Only the champion’s courage enabled him to survive the distance as southpaw Saunders’ clear victory was reflected on referee Ken Curtis’ 99-92 scorecard.

It was a victory that impressed trainer Mark Tibbs, who was happy to see the new champion taken the full 10 rounds, after his last four rivals were all beaten inside two rounds.

“Billy Joe needed to go the rounds as he builds up for bigger challenges and you have to credit Boulden for a game display,” said Tibbs jnr, who trains the former Olympian alongside his father Jimmy at the TKO Gym in Canning Town.

Several times in the contest southpaw Saunders, now unbeaten in 11 fights, looked set for another inside-the-distance victory as he slammed home solid shots to the head and body.

Hooks and uppercuts rocked Boulden in the late rounds as the challenger piled on the pressure but the back-pedalling champion from Shepperton showed a fighting heart to stay the distance.

A cut left eyebrow plus bruised and swollen features were the painful evidence that it had been a hard night’s work for the champion, who was credited with just one round out of the 10.

The new champion’s camp were happy to report there was no recurrence of Saunders’ earlier hand problems and he is now looking forward to more title action in the future.

Also impressing on promoter Frank Warren’s Wembley bill was former Repton amateur international Frank Buglioni who won his pro debut in style by registering a first-round knockout of Sabie Montieth.

The Woodford fighter was looking to spoil the pro debutant’s first night as he came out swinging at the opening bell, but the 36-year-old veteran soon felt the effects of Buglioni’s punches.

A left hook briefly clearly stunned Montieth, and a follow-up right sent him crashing to the canvas.

Montieth was clearly shaken and struggled to regain his feet as referee Bob Williams counted him out with a minute remaining in the super-middleweight bout.

It was the first time, apart from a disqualification, that stubborn Monteith had failed to stay the distance in 10 outings against rising prospects.

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