British super middleweight Billy Joe Saunders has signed with Matchroom Boxing.
The announcement comes two days after a source told ESPN’s Dan Rafael of the deal.
Matchroom, which is led by promoter Eddie Hearn, counts former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk and Dillian Whyte — who was at the centre of a doping controversy last month — among its fighters.
Saunders last fought in May, defeating Shefat Isufi by unanimous decision to extend his undefeated record to 28-0 (13 KOs) and win the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight title.
The 29-year-old, who turns 30 later this month, has signed with Eddie Hearn’s promotion just ten days after ending his partnership with promoter Frank Warren, who also represents lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
Saunders and Warren worked together for the majority of the former’s boxing career up to this point, and in that time, the fighter won British, Commonwealth and European titles and became a world champion in two divisions.
“This move is going to benefit me massively,” Saunders said.
“Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing can put me right out on the branch for those big fights. I’m on [Gennady] Golovkin and Canelo [Alvarez]’s turf.
“I’ve made this move to make them fights, because I’m sick of hearing their excuses. Those fights make financial sense and they make sense because we’re on the same network.”
Hearn added: “This is a huge signing for us and the perfect place for Billy to be.
“Everyone in boxing knows how good Billy is and now he is going to get the chance to prove it against the elite.
“He holds a World title at 168, but can also make 160 comfortably, and when you look at the fighters we work with across our platforms, this was an obvious link up,” Hearn continued.
“Fighters need to be motivated with regular dates and solid deliverable plans — now Billy finally has that, you will see him shine on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Saunders’ victory over Isufi marked his second fight after returning from a suspension, which was implemented after the southpaw tested positive for a stimulant called oxilofrine in September 2018. The news, which was first reported by ESPN’s Dan Rafael, led Saunders to vacate his WBO middleweight title in anticipation of it being stripped.
Meanwhile, Hearn has come under fire from British boxing fans this week since the announcement that Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Andy Ruiz would take place in Saudi Arabia in December.
Ruiz knocked Joshua out in the seventh round of the pair’s heavyweight title contest at Madison Square Garden in June.