Monday 22 May 2017

Illness forces delay in Lee fight

Andy Lee, right, will now fight Billy Joe Saunders on October 10.
Andy Lee, right, will now fight Billy Joe Saunders on October 10.

Andy Lee's WBO world middleweight fight against mandatory challenger Billy Joe Saunders has been delayed by four weeks.

The bout, due to take place in Lee's hometown of Limerick on September 19, has been postponed until October 10 because the 31-year-old champion is suffering from a virus.

Co-promoter Frank Warren explained: " Adam (Booth, Lee's manager) contacted me and quite correctly let me know that Andy was ill.

"Whilst they were prepared to gamble on him recovering in time, there is so much at stake for so many people, common sense had to prevail.

"We simply cannot risk this fight not happening and therefore the decision was made that we should postpone the fight to ensure it does.

"With October being such a busy month in the boxing calendar and every Saturday having a show, we could not afford to wait until November and risk going outdoors.

"The only viable option available to us was to move the fight to the Manchester Arena on October 10, alongside Terry Flanagan's defence of his WBO lightweight title.

"It's a shame for Andy that his dream of defending his world title in Limerick cannot be fulfilled now, but this being such a big fight neither boxer can risk going into the ring at anything less than 100%.

"Also, from Billy Joe Saunders' point of view he is in a training camp in Spain and to not have a firm date for the fight would not be fair on him - so Manchester is the best solution."

Co-promoter Booth added: "Obviously, Andy and I are gutted that this won't be taking place in Limerick.

"If the virus had cleared, then maybe it could have. However, after speaking with Frank, my partner in the event, we decided that the risk was just too great on many fronts."

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