Billy Joe Saunders believes his bad diet in between fights could hamper him

Billy Joe Saunders has feared his diet of cakes could cost him dear as he prepares to return to the ring for the first time in 13 months against Martin Murray on Friday night.

The WBO super-middleweight champion conceded his own devotion to the sport pales when compared with that of 38-year-old Murray, who has come up short in four previous world title bids, all overseas.

Saunders said: “Martin is obviously a good family man and he lives the life outside the gym probably better than me – maybe that makes it more equal.

Billy Joe Saunders
Billy Joe Saunders

“I go up (in weight) like a fat pig so he’s in camp training all the time while I’m sitting back eating cakes, then I get a phone call saying this is what you’re getting, go to camp and train and fight.”

Saunders knows he needs to change that mentality if he is to shrug off the disappointment of his two most recent performances, and re-assert his claims to a crack at the division’s number one, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

The 31-year-old had been slated to face the Mexican prior to the outbreak of coronavirus, and now domestic rival Callum Smith has agreed to undertake the daunting challenge later this month.

Saunders added: “I don’t put pressure on myself, but obviously if I’m chasing the winner of Callum Smith and Canelo, I know I’ve got to do something that no-one’s done – I have to shine against Martin Murray.”

O2 Arena Boxing – London
O2 Arena Boxing – London

Murray has suffered heartbreak in all of his previous title bids, including a brave points defeat to the then world number one Sergio Martinez in Buenos Aires in April 2013.

But despite the display of mutual respect between the two men, Murray is convinced all his setbacks have set him up to make it fifth time lucky on Friday night.

Murray said: “This is my fifth one now and I really rate Billy Joe, but I truly believe that all the pull-outs and setbacks I have had have got me to this point.

“I’m fit and focused and ready. I don’t watch much boxing but I’ve seen a few of Billy’s fights and I know he’s going to be ready on Friday night, so I’m ready for the elite Billy Joe.”