Billy Joe Saunders defended his WBO super middleweight title with a broad unanimous decision victory over Martin Murray on Saturday night in London.
The champion dominated the majority of the fight and retained his belt with relative ease.
The fight began with an uneventful two-round opener.
BJS started out on the front foot, but neither of the two were very successful early on as they measured themselves against each other.
Saunders dramatically increased his production in the third round by finding a home for his left uppercut.
Murray had no answer for Saunders’ combinations and was floored in the fourth.
The referee ruled there was no knockdown and cited a slip, but replays seemed to indicate he made the wrong decision as two right lefts injured the 38-year-old before falling.
The middle rounds featured additional dominance from Saunders as Murray looked his age.
In the eighth round Murray was clearly frustrated and spoke regularly to Billy Joe and the referee throughout the round.
A low blow from Saunders infuriated his opponent, but no points were taken and the fight resumed.
Murray’s bodywork was his highlight in the fight, but as they entered the Championship heats it was clear the champion was well in the lead and on track to comfortably defend his WBO world title.
Saunders saw the win by crushing a tired Murray in the dying minutes.
The scores were then read as a unanimous decision in his favor: 120-109, 120-109, 118-110.
Saunders said after the fight, “I tried to set a pace but he’s a cunning old fox.
“It’s not a performance where I’m going to shout people’s names.
“The bottom line is I’m 30-0, let’s see if I can do a big fight, get up and make a change.
“It was a clear knockdown, if it was called a knockdown I would have adjusted a little differently and maybe got the finish.
“It is very important now for me to stay in the gym.
“I just turned 31, I feel like I’m in the prime of my life.
“Let’s bring out the big names, obviously Canelo and Smith are over there, Andrade is over there…
“Everyone wants Canelo, I hope Smith beats him. Otherwise, it’s the New Year’s fight that I want.
Promoter Eddie Hearn added, “We were one day away from the press conference for Canelo vs. Billy Joe Saunders.
“The pandemic struck and the fight was called off.
“Now it’s important that the momentum continues. He has to be a pro now, he has to be ready.
“We can’t lose the opportunity to see how good it is.
“Canelo, Golovkin, Andrade, Smith – it must be one of them next.” He will fight anyone.
Murray indicated in his post-fight interview that he would most likely retire from the sport now.