BILLY JOE SAUNDERS could have his super-middleweight title bid KOed before the first bell.
The former WBO super-middleweight king recently revealed he was aiming to become a two-weight champion, after a miserable 2018.
Gilberto Ramirez had apparently relinquished his 12st title to step up to light-heavyweight, freeing Saunders to move up a division and face German Shefat Isufi for the vacant strap.
But the 27-year-old Mexican has insisted he is not dropping his hard-earned belt, despite making his 12.5st debut on April 12 on the Vasyl Lomachenko vs Anthony Crolla undercard.
The heavy-handed 39-0 ace said: “The title I have was never vacant.
“I’ll do a fight at 175lbs to see how I feel.
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“In fact, I spoke with Paquito (Valcarcel, WBO president), I told him I have an optional fight and he supported me.”
An April bout at Wembley against unknown Isufi, without a serious belt on the line, would be virtually irrelevant.
And Saunders has admitted he struggles to find his form when not being tested against top-level fighters.
Saunders and Ramirez now share a US promoter in Top Rank, after UK chief Frank Warren joined forces with Bob Arum, so a deal could still be struck to secure the title fight.