Bradley Saunders (12-0, 9 KOs) has been forced to withdraw from his Commonwealth title challenge on April 4, but younger brother, Jeff, will look to cast an impression on the same bill, as he makes his long awaited professional debut.
The 23-year old, suffered disappointment of his own back in February, where he was set to fight on Steve Wraith’s Relentless Promotions show at Gateshead Leisure Centre, before having to pullout at the last minute due to a minor piece of paperwork failing to pass through on time.
“It was heartbreaking to do all the hard work and then have to pull out at the final moment. My preparation was perfect and I was ready to go.
“It was a big anti-climax but everything happens for a reason,” said the Co. Durham boxer.
Saunders, who is trained by Dad, Jeff Snr, and will be promoted by Matchroom Sports, admits that watching elder brother, Bradley, influenced him to turn over to the professional ranks.
“I loved the atmosphere when watching Bradley’s professional fights. It was like a new lease of life.
‘’I’ve won everything there is to win in the amateurs, so I thought I would kick myself if I didn’t give the professional game a go,” Jeff said. “I’ve been looking at the rankings of the people in my weight category and there are boxers I’ve beaten in the amateurs who are ranked in the top ten in the UK.
“If they have been able to get there, there is nothing stopping me from catching up with them up and taking their spots in those rankings. I know the professional game is different, but I’m sure I can adapt and beat them again.”
Prior to turning professional, the 2013 ABA champion spent four years in the army as part of the 2nd Battalion in the Parachute regiment, and is assured that being in Her Majesty’s forces has not only changed him from a boy into a man, but will also stand him in good stead in his professional career.
While brother, Bradley, is the leading light for the Saunders family, Jeff is aiming to send a message on the 4 April – that he won’t remain in his brother’s shadow for long.
In the spirit of a true sibling rivalry, Jeff said: “Being in the shadow of Bradley only makes me more determined, and it’s a target of mine to sidestep him and eventually overtake him.
“I am here to prove a point and I want to make sure everyone understands that I am the real deal.”