Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez will fight Billy Joe Saunders in May

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Saul Canelo Alvarez
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez retained his world titles by comfortably beating Avni Yildirim on Saturday

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez beat Avni Yildirim to set up a world title unification fight with Britain’s Billy Joe Saunders on 8 May.

Mexico’s Alvarez cruised past Turkish challenger Yildirim to retain his WBC and WBA titles on Saturday, before promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed the forthcoming bout with Saunders.

The Briton’s WBO title will also be on the line when the pair meet.

The venue for the fight has yet to be decided.

Alvarez, 30, is a four-division world champion who now boasts a record of 55 wins, one defeat and two draws, including 37 knockouts.

Meanwhile, 31-year-old Saunders boasts an unbeaten record, having won all 30 professional fights, with 11 knockouts.

The IBF belt is held by American Caleb Plant (21-0), but victory for Canelo will move him one step closer in his bid to become the first undisputed super-middleweight champion in boxing history.

“No-one has done it,” Alvarez said. “I want to make history. No-one has done it at 168 [pounds].”

Following the announcement of the fight, Saunders said he was “ready to rock and roll”.

“You have to dare to be great and you are not going to be a great if you don’t beat the greats,” said Saunders.

“I believe I am the only one with the footwork, knowhow, skillset, mindset and brain to unlock that door in Canelo.”

Routine victory for Canelo

Yildirim retired before the start of the fourth round after being knocked down by the Mexican in the third at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.

“I wanted to have a great fight and I did what I had to do,” said Alvarez.

“I needed a knockout and that’s what I did. It doesn’t matter if they’re taller, if they’ve got more reach, or they’ve got a good trainer.

“I came to do my job, I came here to win.”

Fighting in his first bout since beating Britain’s Callum Smith in December, Alvarez dominated and floored his opponent with a crisp left-right combination.

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