Billy Joe Saunders 23-0(12KO’s) will be hard pressed not to have one eye on next Spring going into his first outing of the year on Saturday, with the potential of a clash with Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez, or Kazakh sensation Gennady Golovkin.
Billy Joe Saunders vs Artur Akavov Preview
But in his first outing in almost a year since first claiming the WBO Middleweight title, Saunders must keep his wits about him against the unknown Russian, Artur Akavov 16-1(7KO’s).
Keeping one’s mind on the job has been a difficult task, with the contest now being pushed back twice.
Billy Joe was set to make his maiden defence in October, but the whole show was postponed when injuries struck both Saunders and main event fighter Liam Williams.
That was subsequently followed by last week’s delay of Billy Joe Saunders vs Artur Akavov with translation problems surrounding the challenger’s medical paperwork being the problem this time.
(On another note Saunders has been going at it with old rival Eubank Jr here this week on Twitter).
Barring another unseen delay, the title fight is set to take top billing in Scotland.
Akavov’s only loss came early in his professional tenor, but he has yet to mix with anything close to resembling world class opposition, and his come-forward approach should suit the skilful Billy Joe in Wales.
Billy Joe Saunders vs Artur Akavov Prediction
Saunders is not the heaviest handed of fighters, but he is deceptively powerful with his accurate punches, and it will be intruiging to see how much punishment Akavov will be able to withstand as the fight wears on.
A stoppage may be needed to make a statement, but a combination of inactivity, frustrating delays and working out his opponent in the ring, could make this a job for the 12-round distance.
Akavov also has the look of a fighter that won’t go down quietly. And that should offer Saunders the rounds he desperately needs heading into what should be a better 2017.