BILLY JOE SAUNDERS will fight Shefat Isufi for the WBO World Super Middleweight Title on Saturday May 18 at The Lamex Stadium, home of Stevenage Football Club, live on BT Sport.

The Saunders-Isufi live stream will start at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT on ESPN+ and will also include the highly anticipated heavyweight showdown between 2016 Olympic super heavyweight silver medalist Joe Joyce (8-0, 8 KOs) and former world title challenger Alexander Ustinov (34-3, 25 KOs).

For Saunders, 27-0, the big night in the centre of pitch at Stevenage will represent a first professional fight on home turf in Hertfordshire, with the 29-year-old southpaw stylist hailing from nearby Hatfield.

The former Southern Area, Commonwealth, British, WBO International and European champion was an undefeated WBO world champion at middleweight, having won the belt in December 2015 with a points victory over former champion Andy Lee.

Successful defences followed against Artur Akavov, Willie Monroe jr and, most notably, a career-best performance against David Lemieux on away soil in Canada.

He was set to make a further defence last October against mandatory challenger Demetrius Andrade, but eventually opted to relinquish his title after the Massachusetts commission refused to licence him to fight in Boston after an adverse finding in a VADA test, despite the fact he would have been clear to defend under the rules of the British Boxing Board of Control, as well as the UKAD and WADA agencies that govern doping protocols.

Saunders returned to the ring in December in a keep busy exercise against Charles Adamu and was recently installed as mandatory challenger for his previous title, with Andrade now holding the belt.

He will now break new territory by moving up to 168lbs and seeking to reign at a second weight class.

His opponent is the WBO No.1 ranked Munich-based Serbian Isufi, who holds a record of 27-3-2 with 20 KOs. The 29-year-old is the holder of the WBO Intercontinental title and has made two defences of the belt he won by defeating David Zegarra via an 11th round stoppage for the vacant title in July 2017.

He has previously fought for and won the IBF European title at light heavyweight, as well as the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council cruiserweight title. Isufi is undefeated as a super middleweight.

“I am very, very happy for the fight, more or less, to be taking place in my home town,” said Saunders on the new venue development. “Stevenage and Hatfield is my area and I am excited to be fighting in front of my ‘home’ fans and I am finally home.

“This is my real homecoming from the time I turned pro really.

“I know I have got great support there and I look forward to them all coming out and seeing me put on a brilliant display of boxing. I am just happy I am in this position now and Frank (promoter, Warren) has made it work.

“It is good times and I reckon it will be a complete sell-out. I’ve got a lot of support in the town and it’s a bonus that Stevenage is just along the A1, which is what all my supporters will be travelling on.”

Promoter Frank Warren added: “I am delighted to be returning Bill to his home patch for what is a significant development in his career.
“Moving up to super middleweight opens up all sort of doors for future fights, the massive fights he craved at middleweight where his willingness to fight the other champions was not reciprocated.

“Bill has operated at middleweight for a long time now and reached the top, so we both now believe the time is right to expand his horizons and move up a weight.

“If he is successful against Isufi – and we are not underestimating the threat he poses – Bill will ebecome world champion or fight Ramirez for the title should he stick around at super middleweight.

“Stevenage is new territory for us and I am looking forward to breaking new ground. I am sure the local fans will come out in numbers to support their local man as Bill enters this next phase of his career.”

Saunders vs Isufi at the Lamex Stadium is subject to licensing and will go on sale via on April 1st.

Tickets will be priced as below:

£250 – Hospitality
£150 – Pitch
£100 – Pitch
£75 – Pitch
£50 – Stand
£40 – Stand


Please note the following additional conditions will apply at the event on 18th May

1. All persons will be subject to a body and bag search upon entry.

2. Only small bags (no larger than 35cm x 40cm x 19cm) will be permitted into the stadium.

3. No food or drink, including bottled water will be permitted to be brought into the stadium. Water will be available within the stadium

4. There will be a strict no re-admittance policy throughout the event.

5. The Stadium operates a strict no Smoking Policy throughout, including the pitch area seating.

FA Cup Final: Unfortunately there are currently no plans to screen the FA Cup Final within the Lamex Stadium.

WBO Interim Super Middleweight World Championship:

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS came face-to-face with Shefat Isufi who he meets for the WBO Interim Super Middleweight World Title at the Lamex Stadium, home of Stevenage FC on Saturday May 18, live on BT Sport
Saunders (27-0) will be closing in on becoming a two-weight world champion after his unbeaten reign as WBO Middleweight champion when he faces Isufi on Frank Warren’s ‘King Of Herts’ bill at the Hertfordshire stadium close to his Hatfield home.

Munich based Albanian Isufi (27-3-2) is on a ten fight winning streak, the current WBO Inter-Continental champion and the number one contender for the WBO title, held by Mexican Gilberto Ramirez.

Here are a selection of quotes from their press conference at the venue today:

“We were stuck with no London venue available in May, so we decided to think outside the box and go local to Bill, and bring the fight to Stevenage FC. It’s a good facility which will have a 10-12,000 capacity for boxing. ”
“We tried to make the Chris Eubank Jr rematch and they didn’t want to know, they don’t want Eubank to fight Billy Joe Saunders under any circumstances.”

“The champion Gilberto Ramirez called the WBO and said he would vacate and they put the fight out to Billy and Isufu and we agreed terms, but Ramirez then said he hadn’t decided so this is now interim title. I believe Ramirez could vacate and the winner will be declared full champion.”
“Billy has been very avoided. We signed twice to fight Golovkin and Canelo doesn’t want to fight him.”

“This is a good homecoming, but a bit of pressure because I have never boxed so close to home. I’ve got to make sure I’m on my game because Isufi is looking to take my head off. My mind has got to be focused and set new challenges.”

“I love the Ingle gym and loved working with Dominic Ingle and there are no hard feelings – he may even be in the corner with Ben. There is unfinished business in me and people haven’t seen the best.”
“I have never been more determined and I have a lot to prove this year. I had a terrible 2018 inside and outside the ring and I know I have to be on top flight for Isufi.”

“I am open to boxing at super-middleweight and middleweight. I’ve not got miles on the clock, in my 27 fights I have taken ten hard punches and I am just coming into my prime. I believe I am the best middleweight and super-middleweight in the world bar none. I want to get noticed at 168lb. I would definitely fancy a fight against Callum Smith. I mentioned it to Frank before that it would be a good fight to make. He is great fighter and the type I want to test myself against. It would be hard to say, ‘No’ to that fight.”

BEN DAVISON (Saunders Trainer)
“I’ve always worked with Billy Joe on the technical side. We carried on doing some sessions together and a few weeks ago Billy gave me the call and I was more than happy to accept.”

“When Tyson Fury was in a bad position Billy put us together and we’re there to help each other. Billy and Tyson make a good little team. Tyson’s wife always tells me how much Billy was in touch encouraging him to get back in the gym when he was struggling.”

“Billy should leave this sport knowing he one of the best British fighters ever. Isufi is a stern test, but Billy will produce the goods.”

“Billy can have a million people cheering him on, there’s only going to be two of us in that ring on fight night. I will give Billy Joe a very tough night.”
“Billy is very good fighter, very fast and quick and a good puncher but I am very confident I will give him a tough time.”

“I promised my father on his death bed that I would be a world champion and this is my chance.”

Saunders vs Isufi at the Lamex Stadium is subject to licensing and will go on sale via on April 1st.