Billy Joe Saunders' next world title defense will have him face another British star in former world title challenger Martin Murray.
Saunders will defend his WBO middleweight title against Murray in the main event of an April 14 boxing card at The O2 Arena in London, marking just the second time Saunders has fought at the venue.
"Martin Murray is a good fighter and I have got the greatest of respect for him. But he’s in the way of what I’m aiming for this year and that is to become Undisputed Middleweight World Champion. He’s coming try and win my world title and I’m sure it’s going to be a good fight," Saunders said in the press conference to announce the fight.
But the middleweight title fight won't be the only world title at stake on that April 14 card. The long-awaited vacant WBO junior welterweight title fight between former WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan and Maurice Hooker will also take place on the card and serve as the co-main event. With about three months before the card takes place, no other fights have been announced for the undercard.
Murray, the WBA Intercontinental middleweight champion, has won his last three fights, but this will be Murray's fifth attempt to win a world title. Murray has lost three of his world title challenges and tied in one of those fights. Murray has lost to the likes of Gennady Golovkin, George Groves and Arthur Abraham.
Saunders made his third title defense last month when he defeated former world champion David Lemieux on HBO in Saunders' first fight overseas. This next title defense gives Saunders something to do while world champions Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin are primed to meet again on May 5. Saunders has said that he would like to fight the winner of that rematch in order to unify all four major world titles at middleweight.