Billy Joe Saunders vs Canelo: BJS' remarkable five-year body transformation


Lockdown 2020. A time for thinking, taking a step back, taking care of ourselves, but most importantly, making 10 trips to the fridge daily. Right? Well not for for Billy Joe Saunders.

As the 31-year-old from Hertfordshire prepares for the biggest fight of his career next month against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, the Briton’s amazing transformation has been revealed on social media.

A stark comparison in physiques from 2016 to present day – as unveiled by promoter Eddie Hearn via Instagram on Tuesday – Saunders is barely recognisable.

Boxing journalist Michael Benson’s tweet has now drawn a remarkable conversion, from heavy-set Saunders, to a present-day svelte and toned version.

May 8’s long-awaited bout between Saunders and Alvarez at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, has been in the pipeline for a number of years.

In the past, the Briton has said the chance to fight Canelo would be career-defining, and with his chance to unify the super middleweight crowns, Saunders looks like he means business.  


BJS’ Journey

Making his professional debut against Attila Molnar in February 2009, Saunders went on to capture his first world title at middleweight against Andy Lee via majority decision, six years later.

Having grown up as a Romany traveller, his path has not been without its controversies, however, and shortly before being set to make the fourth defence of his title against Demetrius Andrade in 2018, he tested positive for oxilofrine.

Promoter at the time Frank Warren had stated the result was due to a nasal spray that was permitted by UK Anti-Doping, however, Saunders was still subsequently suspended by the WBO.

Vacating his title in moving up to super middleweight, Saunders then defeated Shefat Isufi in Stevenage in May 2019 to claim the vacant WBO crown, becoming a two-weight champion.

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Since then, he has defended against Marcelo Esteban Coceres, before making his delayed return to the ring following the COVID-19 pandemic, defeating plucky veteran Martin Murray at the SSE Arena back in December.

After his victory, Saunders was in unusually spiking form, perhaps in his eagerness to finally agree the mega-fight with the Mexican. On February 28, Alvarez’ trainer Eddy Reynoso confirmed the bout had been set.

As Saunders’ journey looks set to come full circle, Alvarez-Saunders is being billed as ‘Face the Fearless’. By the look of the Briton in his current shape, however, Canelo may be the one left just a tad nervous.

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