Billy Joe Saunders Easily Boxes Past Shefat Isufi To Win WBO Title

For the vacant WBO super middleweight title, Billy Joe Saunders (28-0, 13 KOs) became a two-division world champion as he easily outboxed Shefat Isufi (27-4-2, 20 KOs).


The scores were 120-108, 117-111 and 118-110.


The belt became vacant when champion Gilberto Ramirez moves up to light heavyweight.


Saunders was the WBO middleweight champion, but lost the title last year after testing positive for a banned substance in the weeks leading up to his mandatory defense against Demetrius Andrade.


While the substance, oxilofrine, was deemed illegal in the United States by testing agency VADA, it was not illegal to use in the UK by testing agency UKAD, and there were no issues for Saunders from the British Boxing Board of Control.


Because VADA was overseeing the fight and it was taking place in the United States, the Massachusetts Athletic Commission refused to license Saunders to fight Andrade, who eventually went forward with a late replacement to capture the vacant belt.


Coming in, Isufi had won ten fights in a row since suffering a stoppage loss to Dariusz Sek in July of 2015.


When the contest started, it was business as usual for Suanders – who was outboxing Isufi with few issues. In the fifth, Saunders was punishing Isufi to the body and hurt him. Isufi was throwing a lot of shots, but missing many of them.


At the start of the sixth, there was some danger when Saunders was rocked by a right hand to the top of the head. Saunders wobbled back to the ropes and held on as Isufi rushed in to finish him off. Saunders moved around for the remainder of the three minutes, using the ring to regain his legs.


By the seventh, Saunders had fully recovered and took back control of the fight with his boxing abilities.


It was easy cruising in the second half, with Saunders outboxing Isufi round after round. Isufi was not taking many chances, not throwing many punches or doing much of anything to slow Saunders down.

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