Billy Joe Saunders to battle Avtandil Khurtsidze on July 8 in London

15/05/2017 17:32

WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) will fight Avtandil Khurtsidze (33-2-2, 22 KOs) on July 8 at the Copper Box Arena in London.

The unbeaten Briton will be making his second defence of the 160-pound title he won when he defeated Andy Lee by majority decision in December 2015.

Saunders, 27,  was then inactive for one year due to training injuries and failed negotiations before his points win against Artur Akavov last December, although it was a poor performance from Saunders and he was fortunate to keep the WBO belt.

The 38-year-old Khurtsidze, a native of Georgia who resides in the USA, earned the world title shot when he knocked out British contender Tommy Langford in the fifth round to win the interim belt in Leicester last April.

"No disrespect to him, but I will show you what he is when I fight him," said Saunders. "All he is to me is a puffed-up Danny DeVito coming forward throwing wild punches. It takes more than just power if you want to get anywhere near me.

"He will never beat me, and I will make him look stupid on July 8th. He does possess knockout power, but I'm going to make sure I'm in the shape of my life and give him the toughest night he has ever had."

Khurtsidze said: "I'm coming to the UK for another knockout. I took Tommy Langford's unbeaten record and I'm coming for Billy Joe's - and his belt. I have waited patiently for my world title shot, and I won't waste it. Billy Joe didn't want to fight me last year, and he would be wise to avoid me again. I love to fight."