British super-middleweight pugilist Billy Joe Saunders upped his undefeated winning streak to 30 with a WBO title defense via unanimous decision against Martin Murray on 4th December at the SSE Arena in London.
The bout that exhausted all 12 rounds saw Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14 KO) clock scores of 118-110, 120-109, and 120-109. While the lengthy fight did not have any striking moment from Saunders, the 31-year-old was in constant commanding authority over Martin Murray (39-6-1, 17 KO) throughout the match and won the favour of the judges.
The win against Murray marks Saunders’s second straight title defense following his previous victory over Argentina’s Marcelo Esteban Coceres on 9th November last year at the STAPLES Center. The Briton won the vacant belt against German boxer Shefat Isufi on 18th May 2019 at the Lamex Stadium in Stevenage, England.
There was a bit of ring rust: Billy Joe Saunders admits unsatisfactory performance
Despite the victory, Saunders was not completely satisfied with his in-ring performance after having a hiatus of more than a year and admitted not being at his level best, while praising Murray for holding on till the final bell.
“He’s (Murray) a cunning old fox and he knew how to tie you up well,” Saunders said following the match, “it’s not a performance I’m going to be shouting peoples names about.”
“I probably needed the rounds, to be honest with you,” the former WBO middleweight champion went on, “the main thing is I’m 30-0, let’s see if I can make a big fight and get up for it.”
“The stamina was there, but the timing was a bit off. There was a bit of ring rust, a little bit of rhythm lacking,” added Saunders.
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On the other hand, Murray lauded over his compatriot after the match.
“I got beat by a better man,” said Murray, who had the sixth loss of his professional career, “we never let him find a proper rhythm, but he was doing just enough. He’s a quality fighter, the better man won on the night.”