Andy Lee to defend WBO middleweight title against Billy-Joe Saunders
Last Updated: 20/06/15 3:30pm
WBO world middleweight champion Andy Lee has confirmed he will make a mandatory defence of his title against Billy-Joe Saunders on September 19 at Thomond Park, Limerick.
The Irishman (34-2-1-KO24) beat Matt Korobov to the vacant title in December and was last in action in April when he drew with American Peter Quillin. The fight was a non-title bout due to Quillin's failure to make the weight.
The unbeaten Saunders (21-0-0-KO11) is the British, Commonwealth and European champion after edging a split decision over fellow Englishman Chris Eubank Jr in November, and is relishing the chance to face off with Lee.
Saunders, 25, said: "I have no problem travelling to Ireland. Like Andy Lee, I come from a traveller background and would have fans showing up in their thousands.
"Andy Lee is strong and game but he’s been on the floor in his last three fights and is coming to the end. He’s at a point where he’s cashing in and I don’t blame him for that but I’m too fresh for him.
This is two travelers fighting in a world title fight for the first time and that is history in the making.
“His luck has got to run out some time and I’m the man to take his title. He’s got a lot of miles on the clock, unlike, say, [Gennady] Golovkin, who is still young and fresh as a champion.
“The build-up to a fight with Andy Lee will be nothing like it was for Eubank,” added Saunders. “This is two travellers fighting in a world title fight for the first time and that is history in the making. We don’t need bad blood and the fans will be out in force for this one.
“Andy Lee is a tough fella and he isn’t beat until the final bell. He’s also a gentleman but this is a sport and I want that belt. Whether it takes one round or 12, I will definitely be world champion when it’s over.”