Billy Joe Saunders
Billy Joe Saunders took Andy Lee's WBO middleweight belt following a majority decision victory at Manchester Arena Getty

Billy Joe Saunders is targeting future fights against Miguel Cotto and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez following his impressive victory over Andy Lee to claim the WBO world middleweight title in Manchester on 19 December. The 26-year-old, who boxed for Great Britain at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, secured two third-round knockdowns against the champion and eventually prevailed via majority decision.

Although Lee demonstrated his trademark powers of recovery to stay in the contest and produce a much-improved showing during the later rounds, his opponent fought very smartly indeed and showcased excellent speed and footwork as he successfully avoided any chance of succumbing to Lee's significant power.

"I want Cotto, Canelo. I'd love them fights," Saunders confirmed in a press conference. "I want to move up. I've beaten Spike (O'Sullivan), I've beaten Eubank, now I've gone on and taken the world champion Andy Lee. I'm WBO world champion, now I've got the say. So I'll have Christmas off and then I'm sure Frank will give me a bell in the new year and we'll go from there.

"People think now that I'll go out of camp and get fat and have a break over Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I will have Christmas off but that title there, now I've worked for that title, I know what I'm up against with these world champions. I know I've got to stay on form to compete at this level. I'm at a new level and I've arrived."

Cotto and Canelo actually fought each other last month, with the latter claiming the WBC crown in an entertaining Las Vegas bout that went the distance.

"Bill wants that (Canelo) and it's something to think about," promoter Frank Warren said. "I've got to be honest, I don't think that would be a difficult fight to make. But it's something I want to think about, what I would like to happen, and then obviously sit down with the guys, I'll tell them what I think and we'll make a decision between us."

On the possibility of meeting Cotto, he added: "For me, if we could make Cotto the next fight, [we would do it] in a heartbeat. I'd do that tomorrow. I would say to him 'you're doing it, it's not a choice' because I know he will fight anyway as he's a fighting man. I will say to the team, 'This is it, this is the fight I want for him.' Because he'd beat Cotto."

Another potential fight for Saunders could be a second bout against Chris Eubank Jr, who is now the mandatory challenger for Daniel Jacobs' WBA title after stopping O'Sullivan on the undercard of Anthony Joshua's heavyweight showdown against Dillian Whyte.

Eubank Jr suffered the only defeat of his fledgling professional career to date when the pair first met in London last November, but he has always seemed eager to avenge that narrow loss.


"Chris Eubank Jr vs Billy Joe Saunders for the world title… Let's get it on #2016 #Team Eubank," he tweeted following Saunders' latest win. Eubank Jr recently left promoters Matchroom as he seeks to fight Nick Blackwell for the British middleweight title.