Photos: Billy Joe Saunders Inspires Youth at Bishop Alexander LEAD Academy

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Undefeated WBO World Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders made the day of pupil James Dean after visiting his school today.
 
Saunders received a hand written letter from nine-year-old amateur boxer James – who said Saunders was his hero and he wanted to become a champion just like him – and invited him to the Bishop Alexander LEAD Academy in Newark and give an inspirational chat to the children in his class.
 
At the time Saunders, 26, was deep in training for his crucial world title challenge against Andy Lee at his training camp in Marbella, but promised to come and see James after he’d beaten Lee and bring the WBO World title belt along with him.
 
The Hatfield star might be eyeing future mega-fights against the likes of Gennady Golovkin, but he’s grounded enough to know the value and importance of inspiring his young fans and next generation of sporting stars.
 
Saunders kept to his word and today went to see a shocked James who was lost for words at meeting his idol in person and gave the children in the class a motivational speech for over an hour.
 
He talked about how and why he got into boxing; the dedication and training he had to put in to become, at 18, the youngest member of the 2008 GB Olympic boxing squad; the transition into professional boxing and becoming a British, Commonwealth and European Champion and ultimately a world champion, and the importance of dedication and perseverance, before taking questions from the children and then tucking into a roast dinner alongside them in the canteen!
 
“Just coming to the school and meeting James and the other children in the class gave me such a lift, knowing that I can inspire at least one of these kids’ to succeed then I know I’ve given something back,” Said Saunders.
 
“Being world champion isn’t just about money, cars and flash things, which are nice, but it’s a position of responsibility and to kids like James, he looks up to me as a role model,”
 
“I said to them, you can achieve anything in life as long as you work and work and work at what you want to achieve and you will succeed, you need to have drive and ambition and never take a knock back as a failure but as a stepping stone to your goal,”
 
“Whether you want to become a world champion boxer, a Premier League footballer, a doctor or a lawyer or plumber or builder, you need desire, commitment and hard work, that’s what was driven into me to succeed and it has proven true.”
 
When James got his breath back, he said afterwards, “It was unbelievable seeing Billy Joe Saunders, who I’d only ever seen on TV, walking through our school gates and come and speak to me!  
 
“Never in a million years would I have thought that he would come to our school, but he promised he would and he did and he brought his world title belt.  It’s a day I will never ever forget.  I’ll be a world champion like him one day,”
 
“I’ve seen him fight against Chris Eubank Jnr who he gave a real beating to and when he won the world title against Andy Lee, to me he’s the best boxer in the world, better than Floyd Mayweather Jr.”
 
James’s teacher Melissa Sladen added, “It was a very kind gesture of Billy to take the time out of his busy schedule and attend our school today and James was absolutely knocked out to see his hero in the flesh,”  
 
“It was fantastic for the children to hear how a professional sportsman of Billy’s status, a world champion, on what drives him to achieve his goals,”
 
“I’m sure today will be a day that sticks in the memory of James and the other children for many years to come and serve as inspiration to achieve their goals.”

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Billy Joe Saunders: “Andy Lee Will Be Another Scalp On My Record”

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WBO World Middleweight title challenger Billy Joe Saunders has fired back at champion Andy Lee who slammed the Hatfield star in an interview today.
 
With the fight closing in fast this Saturday night at the Manchester Arena, the tension is cranking up between both camps who come face-to-face tomorrow for the final press conference.
 
In an interview in today’s Independent, some of the quotes Lee said about his rival were: 

“I don’t think it is going to be my hardest fight.”
 
“He’s an Olympian but I don’t think he did what I did in the amateurs and he hasn’t fought anybody of real note yet. I have fought in the States, across Europe, have more experience,”
 
“He has never lost, not even lost many rounds, so I have to let him know from the start, let him taste the punches, taste the jab, nullify the things he wants to do. A bit of doubt will creep in and then he will get desperate.”
 
“I know what’s coming. He doesn’t. For the first time in his life he is going to find out that attitude alone won’t be enough.”
 
Unbeaten Saunders, who’s heading into his first world title fight, said, “He’s been in big fights in America, yes, but he’s also lost some big fights there as well, Julio Cesar Chavez and Brian Vera.  I’ve not lost yet and I don’t intend on losing,”
 
“He was getting beat by Matt Korobov until his punch power got him out of trouble and he drew with Peter Quillin which I would have been disgusted with, I go in to win, not draw.
 
“Saturday night is Lee’s chance to prove if he is a world champion.  I’m the undefeated challenger, if he beats me then I’ll be the first to shake his hand, but as I see it right now there’s only winner, me,”
 
“There are no doubts in my head at all and he knows that I’m mentally strong and that he can’t get into my head,”
 
“I’ve was an Olympian at 18 and beaten everyone put in front of me to come through. I’ve beaten everyone in Britain and now I just need Andy Lee who’s just another scalp on my record.”

No More Mr. Nice Guy for Andy Lee. States Billy Joe Saunders Is In For It.

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WBO World Middleweight Champion Andy Lee is boxing’s Jekyll and Hyde by saying he can turn on a nasty switch.
 
The Irishman is usually a happy character, but he knows his mean side will come out in the titanic battle against undefeated rival Billy Joe Saunders this Saturday night at the Manchester Arena when he puts his title on the line.
 
Lee and Saunders came face-to-face today in the final press conference before Saturday’s fight and the pair while previously friendly, the tension is definitely increasing between the two.
 
The dynamite-punching Limerick southpaw, who’s frightening one punch KO power can turn around fights, said, “Once that bell goes I’m a totally different character, it’s like there’s a switch as soon as hear a knock on the dressing room door saying “time to walk” there’s a transition in me and I become a horrible, nasty, person and that will come out in this fight,”
 
He added, “For me it’s just another fight, yes, there’s a lot stake between us, my family name and honour, his family name and honour, but more importantly my world title is at stake,”
 
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Billy and his team, we’re professional sportsmen, what you’re going to see on Saturday night is a great, great, fight between two of the best 160 pounders in the world.”
 
Trainer Adam Booth said, “From our side everything is done and it’s now down to Saturday night and letting these two get it on in the ring.  They’re going to be swapping bombs in there.”

Frank Warren’s end of year title extravaganza ‘X-Mas Cracker’ is headlined by two massive world title showdowns with WBO World Middleweight Champion Andy Lee defending his title against Billy Joe Saunders and WBO World Super-Welterweight Champion Liam Smith making his first title defence against Jimmy Kelly.  A staggering SIX further titles are on the line with Mitchell Smith defending his WBO Intercontinental Super-Featherweight title against George Jupp; Paul Butler challenges for the Vacant WBO European Super-Flyweight Championship against Silvio Olteanu; Tommy Langford defends his WBO Intercontinental Middleweight Championship; Commonwealth Super-Welterweight Champion Liam Williams and Kris Carslaw clash with the Vacant British title also on the line; Jack Catterall defends his WBO Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Championship against Noe Nunez Rodriguez, and Tom Stalker and Craig Evans clash again for the Vacant WBO European Lightweight Championship.  The undercard features Merseyside favourite Joe Selkirk in a six-round contest, Indian superstar Vijender Singh, Anthony Yarde and top Manchester prospects Jack Flattley and Dale Coyne, plus Razza Hamza.