Billy Joe Saunders' career at risk as Brit faces surgery on eye injury after Canelo loss


Billy Joe Saunders’ boxing career is at risk after the injuries he sustained in the brutal defeat by Canelo Alvarez on Saturday were diagnosed. Saunders was unable to continue after taking a huge uppercut from Alvarez in the eighth round in Texas to lose his unbeaten professional record.

The 31-year-old left the AT&T arena in Dallas in an ambulance, with Canelo claiming that he had broken his rival’s cheek in the world title unification bout.

Saunders had huge swelling around his eye and was struggling to see when he sat down on his stool at the end of the eighth round.

His trainer, Mark Tibbs, pulled his fighter out, confirming his first defeat in the 31st fight of Saunders’ career, while the Mexican extended his record of just one defeat in 59 fights in front of 73,126 fans.

The Englishman was transported to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, after the fight and he spent the night in the hospital.

“He’s going to be out for a long, long time,” promoter Eddie Hearn said after the fight.

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“When you break a cheekbone you can risk your life and you can’t continue that way,” Canelo added in his press conference.

The full extent of Saunders’ injuries have now been confirmed, with The Athletic reporting that he has sustained multiple fractures to his orbital bone.

Saunders will now undergo surgery later today on the injuries and will face a long period of time on the sidelines.

Hearn tweeted: “Just at hospital in Dallas, @bjsaunders_ stayed in overnight. Suffered multiple fractures to orbital area and will undergo surgery this afternoon.”

Meanwhile, Hearn, who represents both Saunders and Canelo, told The Athletic that Saunders suffered a quadripod fracture, and predicted ‘several months’ of recovery time would be needed.

However, there is a doubt that the injury will heal enough for him to be able to continue his career, given the struggles others have had with similar problems.

Kell Brook suffered a fractured eye socket in defeat by Gennady Golovkin in 2016 and subsequently suffered a repeat injury to the opposite eye in his 2017 loss to Errol Spence Jr.

Brook has struggled to shake off the problems, while British heavyweight Daniel Dubois also suffered a broken orbital bone in his loss to Joe Joyce last year.

After the fight, Hearn gave his assessment of the fight – and its conclusion – to Chris Mannix.

“He couldn’t see,” he explained. “I spoke to Mark Tibbs. He said he couldn’t see, and he wouldn’t let him go out.

“I thought Billy boxed beautifully. Canelo’s so strong, he took his time, Billy’s so tricky. He busted his eye socket. As you can see going back now, his eye.

“Canelo coming on strong in the back end of the fight. Too good. Too good.

“But it was a great performance by Billy Joe Saunders. He came to win.”



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