Legendary trainer Jimmy Tibbs says that if Billy Joe Saunders wins the European middleweight title it will be one of the proudest moments of his career.
Tibbs is preparing British and Commonwealth champion Saunders for his showdown against undefeated Italian Emanuele Blandamura on Saturday, 26 July at the Phones4u Arena in Manchester, with the vacant European title on the line.
East End veteran Tibbs has trained a who’s who of British boxing greats including Nigel Benn, Chris Pyatt, Charlie Magri, Barry McGuigan, Steve Collins, Dennis Andries, Wayne Alexander, Lloyd Honeyghan, Alex Arthur and Frank Bruno to world championship success, and many more to British, Commonwealth and European honours.
But taking the unbeaten Hatfield ace from a four-round fighter to British, Commonwealth and European title glory will be one of the highlights of his 30-plus years as a trainer.
“I’ve been in the sport a long time and worked with some of the best British fighters to come out of this country, but it will give me great pleasure to see Billy crowned the European champion,” said Tibbs.
“I started with him when he was a four-round fighter and we’ve gone the traditional route, winning the British and Commonwealth belts, and now he’s within touching distance of the European title.
“He’s had his setbacks, but what has given me the belief and confidence that he’ll go all the way to become a world champion is that he’s broken his hands in back to back fights, then tore the tendons in his hands, but he still carried on. His determination is unshakable and I believe that he’ll go all the way.
Blandamura is the third unbeaten fighter in a row that Saunders has faced in row after beating Gary O’Sullivan and John Ryder, and Tibbs isn’t taking anything for granted.
“This is a hard fight for Billy, Blandamura’s a good quality box-fighter, he’s unbeaten, he’s been around a bit, so we’re not underestimating him at all,” added Tibbs.
“We’re not over-confident and never look down on or past an opponent, but Billy’s preparing well and he’s doing everything to plan and the results will show on the night.”
Dereck Chisora v Tyson Fury headlines the show for the European and vacant British heavyweight title and final eliminator for the WBO world title; Billy Joe Saunders challenging Emanuele Blandamura for the vacant European middleweight championship; Liam Smith defends his British light middleweight title against Navid Mansouri; the British and Commonwealth super featherweight championships will be contested between Gary Sykes and Liam Walsh; Jack Catterall v Nathan Brough for the vacant Central Area light welterweight championship; plus an action-packed undercard featuring the best young talent.
Tickets are available through Eventim on 0844 249 1000 or eventim.co.uk.
Fury v Chisora is live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky channel 437/HD 490 and Virgin channel 546). Join at www.boxnation.com.
Courtesy of the Queensberry Promotions press office