Saunders vs Blandamura - Billy Joe Saunders celebrates win over Emanuel BlandamuraIn Manchester, England, rising Middleweight star Billy Joe Saunders took on unbeaten Emanuel Blandamura at the Phones4U Arena. Saunders had his work cut out against a foe who was tough, certainly game, and did his best to spoil Saunder’s renowned boxing skills on July 26th, 2014.

Saunders was never quite forced into the trenches, but nonetheless had to dig deep to ward off and stay on top of his Italian opponent. It was in the 8th round that Saunder’s accuracy finally earned him an early night’s work; a hard right-hand caught the chin of Blandamura, knocking him back and trailing into the ropes.

Saunders, who’d been fighting with a cut over his eye since the 2nd round, then went after his man. Two straight punches later, the referee very rightly waived off the contest. The exclamation point win captures Saunders the vacant European title, improving his unblemished record to 21 wins with 11 knockouts. Blandamura now returns to Roma carrying 22 wins, 5 knockouts, and 1 loss. (Saunders vs Blandamura Fight Highlights)

Earlier that evening, Liam Smith (17-0, 7 KO) scored a 6th round KO of Jason Welborn on the undercard. Smith remains the British Junior Middleweight Champion. Liam Walsh (16-0, 11 KO) also scored a knockout, taking out opponent Kevin Hooper in the 4th.

Middleweight prospect Chris Eubank Jr. – son of British great, Chris Eubank – exited the ring early after stopping Ivan Jukic in the 1st round. Post fight, he of course called out Billy Joe Saunders, further building up a heated near-future showdown between the two Middleweight rivals. The heavy-handed Eubank Jr. now remains unbeaten in 16 fights. In the bout prior, Thomas Stalker (9-0, 2 KO) beat Ben Wager by a score of 59-56.

What did you think of Saunders vs Blandamura? Is Saunders ready to challenge for a world title – possibly against rumored Peter Quillin? – or should he mix it up with European level opposition a little longer first? And what about the up-and-coming powerhouse, Chris Eubank Jr. – is he a worthy challenge for the more experienced Saunders?

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