BRADLEY Pryce hasn’t seen Billy Joe Saunders fight before, but still believes he will knock out the young unbeaten star tonight, writes Andrew Penman.
Pryce challenges for Saunders’ Commonwealth middleweight title at London’s York Hall.
The 31-year-old from Newbridge has pulled off big upsets before against previously unbeaten Anthony Small to take his Commonwealth title and undefeated Russian prospects Ivan Kirpa and Sergey Stepkin.
And now he’s ready to do the same to former Olympian Saunders.
“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.
“What I do know is that I will knock him out 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 Small, Stepkin plus Ossie Duran were fighters that I had never watched before,” he added.
“I’m confident in my ability and I’ve got nothing to worry about against Saunders, at my best I can beat anyone out there and you’ll see that against Saunders.
“I’m reaching my peak now and I’m in the best shape of my career.”
Pryce reckons heavy-handed Saunders’ stunning 30 second win over Tony Hill to claim the Commonwealth title at the Royal Albert Hall in April isn’t anything to worry about either.
“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,” he 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 – not even in Newport – and that hurts.
“Now I’m back at the top of the bill where I belong and seeing my photo on the poster for this fight has given me a huge boost.”
Pryce is not fazed about the bookmakers offering odds of 18/1 on for a Saunders victory.
“That doesn’t bother me, it takes the pressure off if anything,” he explained.
“This is an opportunity I’ve been waiting to grab for a long time and I’m buzzing. This is a fight I’ve got to win and I will. I’ll prove people wrong.
“It’s going to be a massive shock when I beat him and bring the belt home to Wales.”
But Saunders is so confident of victory that he has threatened to retire at the age of 22 if he is beaten by Pryce.
“If I can’t beat the likes of Bradley Pryce where am I going in this sport? I would retire if he beat me,” said Saunders. “He’s had his time as Commonwealth champion, this is my time now and I’m on the way up in this sport.
“In the next 12-18 months I aim to become the number one in Britain and Europe beating the best here before going on to the world title and Pryce is a stepping stone towards that,” he added. “Pryce said that he is the best that I have faced so far, but I’ve faced the best amateurs in the world before I turned professional and that counts for a lot. “There’s no way that Pryce is going to beat me though, I will never lose to him. “I fight best when I’ve got some venom and my opponent has riled me, which Pryce has done, so he’s getting knocked out.”
- Tonight’s fight is live on BoxNation TV with Pryce and Saunders in the ring at around 10.30pm.