Sunday 26 February 2017

Andy Lee: Referee admitted to me post-fight he made a mistake

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Peter Quillin knocks down Andy Lee during the Premier Boxing Champions Middleweight
Peter Quillin knocks down Andy Lee during the Premier Boxing Champions Middleweight
Andy Lee and Peter Quillin exchange punches during the Premier Boxing Champions Middleweight bout

WBO Middleweight champion Andy Lee admitted last night's draw was "weird" but a fair result while also revealing referee Steve Willis admitted to making a mistake during the bout.

Lee, whose title wasn’t on the line as Quillin missed his weight on Friday, survived two early knockdowns to draw in New York, flooring the US boxer in a career-first in the seventh round.

Lee could now face England's Billy Joe Saunders in his first title defence, but said the result in New York was a fair one.

“I think it was a fair result in the end," he told RTE. "He scored good knockdowns in the first few rounds and I boxed my way back into it. I was stronger and more consistent going down the stretch and that’s important in those 12 rounds."

The Irish fighter told the press how refree Willis admitted to making a mistake with regards to his second knockdown at the hands of the American fighter.

“He got the knockdown so that kind of skews your judgement in his favour. I got one back and for his last knockdown he stood on my toe. The referee acknowledged that at the end of the fight and said ‘Sorry, I realise now that was a mistake’.”

Andy Lee and Peter Quillin exchange punches during the Premier Boxing Champions Middleweight bout
Andy Lee and Peter Quillin exchange punches during the Premier Boxing Champions Middleweight bout

After Chocolate's failure to make the 160lbs weight, the fight was not a title decider and the Limerick native conceded this made the bout rather surreal.

“I don’t know how to feel about it,” he said. “It was weird as it wasn’t even a championship fight but both of us enhanced our reputation and that’s what was on the line.

“I don’t want to make any excuses and it was a fight at the end of the day so you’re going into it to win but you’re going in knowing that the title is restored anyway and in your mind if I lose the fight I’m still champion so how do I feel about that. I was a weird situation to go into.

“I didn’t want the fight to get cancelled and that was the first thing I said to (trainer) Adam (Booth).

Attention now focuses on his first title defence and while Saunders at Thomond Park appears to be the most likely option, Lee says he will take a break after last night's fight, and didn't rule out the possibility of a re-match.

“I would be (interested in a rematch),” he added. “If I don’t make those mistakes that I did earlier in the fight then it’s a different outcome. We’ll see what happens.”

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