Billy Joe Saunders

Billy Joe Saunders (born August 30, 1989) is a British amateur boxer, who after a distinguished junior career qualified for the 2008 Olympics.

Career

"Caravan Kid" Saunders lives with his family on a travellers' encampment near Hatfield, Hertfordshire and fights for Hoddesdon ABC. Originally from Cheshunt, Saunders is the great-grandson of one of Britain's most famous gypsy bareknuckle champions, Absolom Beeney. His father, Tom, a former amateur, also admits to being involved in a bareknuckle scrap once "to sort things out, the way the travelling community does".

The southpaw won his first 49 amateur fights at senior level in a row, including the Commonwealth Championships in 2007 [ [http://amateur-boxing.strefa.pl/Championships/CommonwealthChamps2007.html CommonwealthChamps2007 ] ] and the Strandya Cup 2008 edging out Cuban Carlos Banteaux [ [http://www.amateur-boxing.strefa.pl/Tournaments/Strandjata2008.html Strandjata2008 ] ] .

In 2008 Saunders qualified for the Beijing Olympics in the Welterweight division at the age of 18. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/7271994.stm BBC SPORT | Olympics | GB boxers secure Beijing places ] ] Saunders qualified at the European area qualifier in Pescara, Italy. He beat European champion Andrey Balanov and Kakhaber Zhvania , he lost his semi to Oleksandr Stretskyy before beating the Slovakian, Pavol Hlavacka for the all-important third spot. [ [http://www.amateur-boxing.strefa.pl/Championships/EuroOlyQual2008_1.html European Olympic Qualifications - 1 - Pescara, Italy ] ] He went to Beijing as the first person from the British Romany Gypsy community to qualify for the games, [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/boxing/7302418.stm BBC SPORT | Olympics | Boxing | Saunders - From Romany to Beijing ] ] where he was defeated in the second round of the welterweight division. He was subsequently suspended for "lewd behaviour", allegedly pertaining to an incident with a local woman during a pre-season training camp in France [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/boxing/7573809.stm BBC SPORT | Olympics | Boxing | Boxer Saunders protests innocence.]

External links

* [http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1819129_1819134_1825949,00.html "Billy Joe Saunders"] , n°53 on "Time"’s list of "100 Olympic Athletes To Watch"

References

* [http://www.britishamateurboxing.net/boxers_191-Billy-Joe-Saunders.html Incomplete amateur record]


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