Billy Joe Saunders' quest to fight at least once in 2016 just hit another road bump as his middleweight world title fight against Artur Akavov has been postponed.
The two will now square off on December 3 on promoter Frank Warren's card from Paisley, Scotland. The reason for the change in date is that Akavov's medical papers are written in Russian and could not be translated in time.
Warren spoke to ESPN and expressed disappointment for this latest development in Saunders' tumultuous year.
"It's extremely frustrating for all parties and especially Billy, who has been itching to get back into the ring following a frustrating 2016," Warren said. "The medicals were sent late and mostly in Russian and once translated it then became apparent they were not complete. Ultimately, it would be too late to find a suitable replacement so postponing it was our only option. I feel for Billy Joe as he was ready to make the first defense of his world title and for all of the fans who wanted to watch him."
The match, which is for Saunders' WBO middleweight belt, was going to be held on November 26 from Cardiff, Wales. Saunders said while he isn't happy he has to wait another week to fight, he knows the change in date will not affect whether or not the bout will happen.
"I was ready to put on a big performance and defend my title in style in Cardiff but unfortunately this latest issue was totally out of our control," Saunders said. "The fight is still on - that's the main thing - and I'll be fully prepared to defend my title in Scotland next week before moving on to a blockbuster fight in 2017."
Saunders won his world title last December against Andy Lee via majority decision. He has not fought since then due to various issues, such as him pulling out of a potential fight with unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin as well as not being to find a suitable opponent in the past few months and even being injured several weeks back.