Billy Joe Saunders Stops Marcelo Coceres To Defend WBO Title On American Debut
Billy Joe Saunders made a successful first defence of his WBO super middleweight title with an 11th-round stoppage in Los Angeles.
The 30-year-old Brit was given stern test by Marcelo Coceres but eventually broke his resistance with a TKO victory at Staples Center.
Saunders won the title against Shefat Isufi in May and donned stars and stripes on his shorts for his first fight in the US.
He improved to 29-0 but struggled to make the impression he hoped to Stateside as he chases a bout with Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez.
Fighting on the undercard of KSI's rematch against Logan Paul in Los Angeles, Saunders was hopeful of using the platform to catapult himself into contention with the biggest names in the division.
But he struggled to exert his dominance over his tough Argentine opponent, who took him all the way.
The fight seemed to be heading towards a points decision with neither man looking to be in any trouble before Saunders stepped it up in round 11.
He put Coceres on the floor three times in the penultimate round, including once with a stunning uppercut.
It was the flourishing finish that Saunders needed after a laboured performance as he looked to catch the eye of the Americans.
Saunders said: "There's no excuses - that performance is not worthy of Canelo or Daniel Jacobs.
"It was just one of those nights. I tried to impress the American crowd and I knew I had to knock him out.
"Being the champion, you know when to step on the gas and I had to hit the button at the right time because it's the difference between winning and losing."
He added: "Tonight I got the win and thank all the American fans for continuing to follow me because that wasn't the best of me.
"Canelo Alvarez, take me while you think I'm spent. You're a great fighter, I respect you, you've done good things for boxing."
Alvarez knocked out Sergey Kovalev in Las Vegas last weekend to win the WBO light heavyweight world title and become a four-weight world champion.
Topics: Billy Joe Saunders