Tommy Barber – London
Fast-rising British middleweight prospect Billy Joe Saunders (13-0-0, 9ko), a 22-year-old champion of the Commonwealth, has a hard night’s work ahead of him on Friday, June 1 as weekend opponent Bradley Pryce (33-10-0, 18ko) intends on being the first fighter to inflict defeat onto the Welwyn Garden City resident when the two collide at York Hall, Bethnal Green in East London.
“I wouldn’t know Billy Joe Saunders if he walked in my gym today, I’ve never watched him or seen him fight before,” said Pryce boldly. “What I do know is that I will knock him out on Friday night at the York Hall and get back in the big time. I generally never watch fights of my opponents, some of my best wins against the likes of [Anthony] Small, [Sergey] Stepkin plus Ossie Duran were fighters that I had never watched before.
“I’m confident in my ability and I’ve got nothing to worry about against Saunders [because] at my best I can beat anyone out there and you’ll see that against Saunders.”
Saunders has strong pedigree. As an amateur standout, he was signed to Frank Warren’s stable when he turned professional along with former World Amateur Champion Frankie Gavin and gold medal Olympian James DeGale.
Gavin initially attracted the acclaim but his initial inability to capitalise on momentum allowed DeGale to enjoy the media applause. That is, until, his loss to long-time rival George Groves. Having overcome hand injuries, it is Saunders who has preserved his undefeated record, captured two professional titles (Southern Area and Commonwealth) and will regard Pryce as his prospective stepping-stone to British honours and the type of fanfare that both Gavin and DeGale had previously been the recipient of.
“I read about Saunders’ quick win against Tony Hill, if he can do that to me then fair play he’s going to be a world champion, but I’m far and away the best he’s faced so far.”
Breaking down the contest, Pryce said: “For the first six rounds I reckon he’ll be dangerous and I’ve prepared for that with my trainer Gary Lockett, but after six rounds the fight’s mine. I’ve never been so pumped up for a fight before, I love a challenge and taking Saunders’ unbeaten record is a massive incentive for me.
“For the last two years my face hasn’t appeared on fight posters and seeing my photo on the poster for this fight with Saunders has given me a huge boost. It’s going to be massive shock when I beat him, but I’ve told you here first.”
Elsewhere on the card, Saunders’ TRAD TKO gym-mate in Canning Town; Frank Buglioni, takes on Jody Meikle in a super middleweight bout.