Billy-Joe Saunders sets two-year timeline to fulfil boxing goals

Billy-Joe Saunders (left) and Martin Murray
Saunders and Murray will go head-to-head at the 02 Arena in April

WBO world middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders says he has two years to achieve his goals before retirement.

The 28-year-old defends his title for the fourth time against fellow Briton Martin Murray in London on 14 April.

A bout with either Gennady Golovkin or Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez - has proven evasive and Saunders wants to meet goals set when turning professional.

"When I'm 32 will I live like I am now? My personal opinion is no," he said. "I want to do it while I have my youth."

Saunders, who has won all 26 of his professional contests, added: "I have two years to do what I want to do. I don't think I've peaked but who wants to be getting punched for the next 10 years?

"I always said I want to be done at 30 or 31. You have a lot of people now who stay in a year or six months too long. That can have a big impact on your life and family."

Since teaming with Sheffield-based trainer Dominic Ingle, Saunders has noticeably lost weight and he states the sport is now a "job" he takes seriously rather than a "chore".

'Unloved like Calzaghe'

Saunders won plaudits across world boxing for dominating David Lemieux in Canada in December.

His promoter Frank Warren insists Alvarez - who is expected to face WBC, WBA and IBF champion Golovkin in a rematch of their initial draw on 5 May - "doesn't want to fight" Saunders.

"In some ways it's a bit like when I promoted Joe Calzaghe," Warren said. "I'd get letters from TV firms saying they didn't want Calzaghe. I think Bill has now had his Calzaghe moment - an eight-year overnight sensation.

"This Murray fight is about Bill reiterating he should be in with the winner of Golovkin and Canelo."

'Desperate and dangerous'

Murray will be competing for a world title for the fifth time, having lost on his four previous attempts.

The 35-year-old St Helens fighter contemplated retirement in 2017 but insists signing to face Saunders has given him a new lease of life.

"It's now or never for me, I have to win this fight," Murray said. "I know this is a class operator but I will give it my all and hopefully kick-start my career.

"I'm on my last chance. A desperate man is a dangerous man."

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