Sport

Jarrod sizes up UK belt

Aussie champ Jarrod Fletcher is heading to London
Aussie champ Jarrod Fletcher is heading to London

ENGLAND'S Commonwealth (British Empire) middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders reckons his prized belt is going nowhere, especially not to Australia.

Hervey Bay's Australian middleweight champion Jarrod Fletcher intends to have something to say about that - he's aiming to be wearing it when he arrives home from London next week.

Saunders will defend his crown in a 12-round showdown with Fletcher at Bethnal Green's York Hall in the heart of the East End in the early hours of tomorrow (6am AEST).

It should prove to be a battle to the end with no quarter asked for, and certainly none given, as both boxers have perfect records as professionals - something will have to give.

The 23-year-old Saunders, the great-grandson of one of Britain's most famous Romany (Travellers)

bare-knuckle champions, Absolom Beeney, has won 14 of his bouts - nine by KO, since he, like Fletcher, joined the professional ranks after the Beijing Olympics.

Fletcher has an equally impressive record, winning all 12 of his bouts, including seven by KO.

The 28-year-old Fletcher, or Left Jab as he is known in the fight game, has never pulled any punches - that's not his style and never will be.

He has no intention of being like a lamb to the slaughter in front of 1200 Londoners baying for his blood.

The 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist has not travelled more than 19000km to make up the numbers - he's gone to win.

"Mate, there was no point hiding in my own backyard for the rest of my career," Fletcher said.

"I could keep fighting back home and building the record up, but I am at the next stage now - I need to take the step up.

"With him (Saunders) generating a lot of hype, this fight is an ideal opportunity to advance my own career by beating him."

But Fletcher is well aware it won't be easy after watching hours of Saunders in action on the internet.

"He can box and punch for sure," Fletcher said.

"From what I have seen, he always gets his own way and bullies opponents ... dictates easily. We're going to see how he copes when the shoe's on the other foot.

"I've come here to fight, and that's what I'm going to do."

But what will be the key to Fletcher winning?

"My speed, but I can take it to the street if I have to," he said.

"I'm fit as a fiddle and ready to go - I hope he is."

 

SECONDS OUT

Jarrod 'Left Jab' Fletcher

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 180cm (5ft 11in)
  • Stance: Orthodox
  • Pro record: 12 fights, 12 wins, 7 by KO

Billy Joe 'Caravan Kid' Saunders

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 180cm (5ft 11in)
  • Stance: Southpaw
  • Pro record: 14 fights, 14 wins, 9 by KO

Topics:  boxing, jarrod fletcher



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