Monday 26 September 2016

'This is not a hand-picked fight' - Andy Lee looking forward to dream title defence

Sean McGoldrick

Published 14/07/2015 | 14:33

WBO world champion Andy Lee with his belt after a press conference ahead of 'The Showdown' with BJ Saunders at Thomond Park on September 19th. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
WBO world champion Andy Lee with his belt after a press conference ahead of 'The Showdown' with BJ Saunders at Thomond Park on September 19th. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Andy Lee will defend his WBO world middleweight title against unbeaten British boxer Billy Jo Saunders in Limerick's Thomond Park on September 19th - the night before the All-Ireland football final.

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Details of the fight which will be broadcast live on Box Nation (10pm) were revealed today at a press conference in Limerick.

The promotors are anticipating a crowd of 30,000 for the first ever world championship fight to be staged in the Treaty City. Ticket prices will range from £30 for the terraces to £500 for ringside.

The 31-year-old, who hinted afterwards that this might be one of his last fights, said it was a dream come true to be defending his world title in his home city.

"I often drove past Thomond Park and dreamed about fight in the stadium.

"This is not a hand-picked fight. This is a real fight,' he said.

Saunders, who boxed for Great Britain in the Beijing Olympics and fought as as amateur on many occasions in Ireland, said there was no need to hype the contest between the two southpaws.

'The champion get what he wants. This is one fight that there is no need for any thrash talk between the boxers,' he said.

Saunder's manager Frank Warren wanted the fight to be staged in Upton Park in London and according to Lee the fight was only finally confirmed for Limerick a week ago.

While the exact details were not revealed it is obvious that Saunders financially compensated for agreeing to come to Ireland to face the champion.

This means that Lee and his trainer Adam Booth - who is jointly promoting the fight - are taking all the risks in staging it.

Following today's press conference Lee flew back to London to go into a training camp in Surrey in preparation for the fight.

Saunders will training in Spain ahead of the September showdown.

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