BILLY JOE SAUNDERS has declined an opportunity to fight for the IBF World Middleweight Championship to remain on course for his WBO World title shot.

Undefeated Saunders, the IBF number four ranked contender, was this week offered a showdown for the Vacant IBF crown against the number one ranked Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, after Felix Sturm also passed on the opportunity.

The Hatfield sensation, who holds the British, Commonwealth, European and WBO International titles, is the mandatory and number one ranked WBO challenger and has a signed contract with the WBO to fight the winner out of World Champion Andy Lee and former champion Peter Quillin who fight in April.

The 25-year-old is grateful to the IBF for offering him the chance to fight for their world title and hopes that it is a belt that he can fight for in his quest to unify the 160lb division.

Saunders said, “I was honoured to be asked to fight for the IBF World title, which has been held by some of the greatest fighters in the sports history, and it was not an easy decision to make.  But I have a signed contract with the WBO to fight the winner out of Lee and Quillin and I want to go down that route.  I’m in boxing to prove that I’m a great and bring more world titles back to Britain so I hope that the IBF title is one the I can challenge for in the future in some big unification fights.”

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