Billy Joe Saunders has revealed a key element to his overwhelming success over David Lemieux on Saturday night.
Saunders dominated his way to a unanimous decision victory to retain the WBO middleweight belt, in Lemieux's home state of Quebec no less.
It was this hometown advantage that worried Saunders the most but it turned out the environment and atmosphere was not as intimidating as it might have been.
And that was largely due to one big mistake Lemieux's camp made in their setup at the Place Bell Arena.
"They made one mistake tonight," Saunders told Boxing Scene.
"They tried everything to upset me. But they made one mistake – big ring. Big ring. Give me my element, just played with him.”
Indeed the British boxer was already known for his elusiveness in the ring, and the titleholder made use of every inch of the ring during the title fight to confuse his heavy-hitting opponent.
The result was perhaps best epitomised in a moment during the fifth round when after slipping a loaded right hook by Lemieux, Saunders taunted the local hero by looking out into the crowd, gesturing to see where the punch landed.
"The moment round one went, I saw it,” Saunders continued.
“I knew it, I knew it. I seen him fade. Every feint I was doing I was making him leap. Pop-pop, move, pop-pop. And then I knew – you get the matador with the bull, bang, turning him, bang, I made him dizzy in there. Ring too big."
The 28-year-old is now undefeated from 26 fights but this most recent clash was his first outside of the UK.
Saunders was well aware of what home advantage can mean in a such a big encounter and instead used this apprehension as his motivation to dominate the fight.
When asked what drove his impressive performance, Saunders said "Fear.”
“Coming into someone’s backyard, not in my comfort zone, out of my comfort zone. Thinking all day long, in my hotel room, ‘I have to win every single round. I can’t let a round go.’"
With such an emphatic performance the 28-year old British boxer did just that in the eyes of one judge who scored all 12 rounds for the champion.
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