Canelo Alvarez forces Billy Joe Saunders to quit after the eighth round, wins WBO title

canelo-alvarez-unified-champion-matchroom-ftr Michelle Farsi/Matchroom Boxing

Billy Joe Saunders was boxing well and hanging with Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez through seven rounds admirably.

However, a stinging right uppercut to the eye changed all that during the eighth round.

Canelo wound up and landed the punch perfectly, leaving Saunders' right eye practically swollen shut.

According to Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, the vicious uppercut fractured Saunders' eye socket . The damage forced Saunders to quit on his stool following the eighth round, giving Canelo the TKO victory and WBO world super-middleweight title, bringing him one step closer to undisputed glory.

Saunders seemed to be gaining confidence during the fifth and sixth rounds — the latter having the British fighter even sticking his tongue out, mocking Canelo.

But that confidence was crushed during the eighth round, and Alvarez knew that he had the victory in tow.

"I knew it. The truth is I knew it. I think I broke his cheek, and I knew he wasn't going to come out," Alvarez told DAZN's Chris Mannix after his victory. "I went into the corner and told Eddie (Hearn) he isn't coming out."

Added Hearn about Saunders, who suffered his first pro loss: "He couldn't see."

Despite seemingly being stifled by Saunders' southpaw style during the fifth and sixth rounds, Canelo said the win was "not as difficult as I expected." He had walked Saunders down effectively early in the fight, landing power shots and arguably took back momentum in the seventh round, before unloading on the uppercut to end the night.

Now, the missing piece of Alvarez's attempted undisputed glory would come in the form of a shot against IBF titleholder Caleb Plant.

"That's the plan," said Canelo (56-1-2, 38 KOs) about facing Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) next.

Here's how the Canelo vs. Saunders main card went.



Soto-Takayama; Round 8

Takayama, giving him credit, hasn't stopped throwing punches. But Soto's overhand right, followed by a left hook late is enough for him to take the round. (10-9 Soto, 78-74 Soto)

Soto-Takayama; Round 7

Soto simply measuring Takayama up and trying to land something huge. Takayama was busier, though. (10-9 Takayama, 68-65 Soto)

Soto-Takayama; Round 6

Soto gets real low, assesses Takayama, who dances in a sign of showmanship for showmanship. Right hand connects for Soto. There's a definite buzz in the crowd, which will explode for Canelo vs. Saunders — no doubt. Soto pieces together a pair of combinations, bullying Takayama around the ring. Two huge rights from Soto land, then a crunching uppercut. That uppercut almost took Takayama out on his feet. Incredible heart from Takayama. (10-9 Soto, 59-55 Soto)

Soto-Takayama; Round 5

Lunging left hook lands for Soto, who comes back the other way and blasts Takayama with a right hook to the chest. Straight right swivels 
Takayama's head now, too. A game Takayama staying in the phone booth with Soto and continuing to produce punches with a high output. (10-9 Soto, 49-46 Soto)

Meanwhile, with Canelo backstage ...

It's safe to say that Canelo couldn't care less about Saunders' antics through the week.

Soto-Takayama; Round 4

Takayama is keeping up his busy pace, punching and moving well. But Soto is really loading up, waiting to unleash something with bad intentions. Overhand right lands for Soto. Left hook brushes Takayama back. Takayama is throwing punches at a high volume, but the more impactful shots are coming from Soto's hands. (10-9 Soto, 39-37 Soto)


Soto-Takayama; Round 3

Takayama is doing a better job of moving, punching, and keeping his head down, but it doesn't look or feel like his punches have anywhere near the same effect that Soto's shots have. (10-9 Takayama, 29-28 Soto)


Soto-Takayama; Round 2

Left hook pops Takayama's head back early. Right hook rocks Takayama's jaw moments later. Already, you've got the feeling that it's a matter of time before Soto puts Takayama down. Soto is just the bigger man and puncher in there. Huge right hook to the chest from Soto as the bell rings. (10-9 Soto, 20-18 Soto)

Soto-Takayama; Round 1

Huge right hand from Soto buckles Takayama's legs. Takayama definitely felt Soto's power there. Soto clips Takayama and he's reeling. Oh, he came within seconds of getting a knockdown during the waning ticks. (10-9 Soto)

The co-main event is up next

Elwin Soto vs. Katsunari Takayama for Soto's WBO junior flyweight world title is here.

Cissokho takes the split decision

97-92 for Conway, 96-93 for Cissokho, and 95-94 for your winner by split decision ... Cissokho. How a judge could score it for Conway after essentially one solid round is unreal. 


Cissokho swivels Conway's head

Cissokho lands a big right hand to bounce back and take the 10th and final round ... and the fight. We await the official decision.

Conway drops Cissokho out of nowhere

Wow! Just as commentators are saying that Conway will need a knockout, he delivers a double left uppercut that drops Cissokho in the ninth round. Cissokho never saw it coming. He takes the count, gets up off the mat, and Conway is applying significant pressure. Cissokho's legs don't look right. But he survives the round. Conway should have applied even more pressure to threaten a stoppage.


Cissokho just jabbing away

Cissokho has landed 46 jabs to Conway's 26 through six rounds. Occasionally, Conway is able to work his way inside and land a body shot, but Cissokho manages to get back outside and outpoint his opponent.

Time for talking is done, says Saunders

"Its down to me and Alvarez to put our talking aside and put the business on the table," Saunders tells DAZN's Chris Mannix backstage, "and let's see who the main man is, the No. 1."

Canelo enters the building to a huge ovation

A smiling unified world super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez enters AT&T Stadium to a roar from the crowd at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex.

Blood from Conway's nose

That's courtesy of Cissokho's jab, which has been an effective weapon thus far.

Cissokho showing early ring generalship

Cissokho keeping his distance and sticking out that jab well through the first two rounds.

Tyson Fury in the house as well

The WBC and lineal heavyweight champion of the world is at the AT&T Stadium in support of his friend Billy Joe Saunders.

Billy Joe Saunders is in the building

The WBO super middleweight champ has arrived.

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