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Saunders is aiming to take career up to the next level.

Byline: Craig Johns Sports Writer @craig_johns

THERE'S levels in boxing and Jeff Saunders is planning to show Steven Lewis he's one above this weekend.

Ask any North East boxing enthusiast to name the top prospects in the region and Sedgefield's Saunders will be high, if not top, of almost every list.

Since turning professional in 2015, Saunders has successfully negotiated his way through 11 bouts, displaying a sublime skill set as well as terrifying power in both hands. That power has resulted in six early stoppages to date.

The apprenticeship is over now though, and after signing a promotional deal with Frank Warren, he makes a big step up against Liverpool's Lewis on the Metro Radio Arena show on Saturday evening (November 11).

The fight serves as a British superlightweight title eliminator and Saunders is certain he'll have too much for his visiting opponent.

He said: "I can't wait for it. It's a big fight on a big show so I'm buzzing for it.

"It's a good step and at the right time in my career. I've done my apprenticeship and I'm looking to get up there now and start thinking about major titles.

"That British title is so prestigious. I think every British boxer would want one of those belts and I'm no different. I'm hoping it'll be a good fight for the fans to watch.

"We're both undefeated fighters and that will be good for me. It will be good to get the win against him as there's a lot to gain from it.

"You can't take it away from him, I think he's the best I've been in with so far. But I think there's levels in boxing and I'm definitely one step ahead of him.

"I know he's won a few things at amateur but I've been in with all the top kids and I've boxed all over the world.

"He's never boxed someone who can punch with both hands like me and I believe he'll get a real shock when that bell rings."

In his most recent fight Saunders got his first professional title after he defeated Chris Truman for the British challenge belt.

But Lewis, also undefeated after 14 fights, is a big step up in class for Saunders.

The Sedgefield man is certain that better opponents will result in even better performances coming from him.

"I think the better the opponent the better I will look. The journeymen cover up a lot and are hard to break down whereas someone like this will come to win and when he throws his shots I'll be able to pick away at the gaps that he leaves.

"It's easy to come down to their level when someone is being negative and not really throwing much, so being pushed will bring out the best in me.

"Someone being ambitious just means you have to be that little bit sharper and more switched on which means I should be on my game.

"Win this and I put myself in line for a British title shot. I know I can mix it with anyone in my weight. I'm confident in my own ability.

"That's my thoughts now. I want titles. I want a piece of silverware to take home after fights. I'll just keep chipping away and I'm sure that come."

Saunders' bout is one of a number on the No Ifs, No Buts show on Saturday, which will be televised live on BT Sport and will be topped by the highly-anticipated rematch between Liam Williams and Liam Smith.

Also on the card is Durham's Thomas Ward who makes a first defence of his British super bantamweight title, while Josh Leather and Glenn Foot clash in a North East derby. Saunders' gym mate Michael Watson makes his debut at cruiserweight.

Tickets are still available from the Metro Radio Arena website.

CAPTION(S):

Jeff Saunders in action during a previous visit to the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle. The Sedgefield boxer returns to Tyneside on Saturday to take on Steven Lewis from Liverpool Nigel Roddis
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 9, 2017
Words:676
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