Friday 2 December 2016

Thomond to pack them in as Booth backs Lee to deliver

Boxing

Bernard O'Neill

Published 22/06/2015 | 02:30

Andy Lee, left, in his corner with trainer Adam Booth last year. The charismatic Booth, who is nicknamed ‘Dark Lord’ by some and who is known as the Jose Mourinho of fighting by others is an ex-trainer to David Haye
Andy Lee, left, in his corner with trainer Adam Booth last year. The charismatic Booth, who is nicknamed ‘Dark Lord’ by some and who is known as the Jose Mourinho of fighting by others is an ex-trainer to David Haye

Adam Booth, Andy Lee's coach and manager, has no doubts that the WBO World middleweight title will remain in Limerick when Lee puts his crown on the line against undefeated English southpaw Billy Joe Saunders, at Thomond Park on September 19.

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Booth confirmed that terms have been agreed with Saunders' promoter Frank Warren, who wanted the bout in London, and the biggest fight on Irish soil in the history of boxing here will go ahead on Shannonside.

The charismatic Booth, who is nicknamed 'Dark Lord' by some and who is known as the Jose Mourinho of fighting by others, is an ex-trainer to David Haye.

"Upton Park was the venue that Frank wanted to nominate, I nominated Thomond Park. We had to negotiate with each other and that is what we did," he said.

"I never would or have made a fight that I didn't think my man will win. I think Andy will win and I'm confident. I'm excited about the challenge that Billy Joe brings.

"Billy Joe will be the fourth unbeaten fighter in-a-row that Andy has fought. Unbeaten fighters are always a special challenge."

Olympians

The capacity of Thomond Park will be increased to 34,000 for the battle of the southpaws, both former Olympians, according to Booth.

Lee claimed the vacant WBO title after stopping Russia's Matt Korobov in the sixth round in Las Vegas last December.

He was due to defend the belt against Peter Quillin, who vacated the title rather than face Korobov, in New York in April, but the fight, which ended a draw, was a non-title bout as Quillin failed to make the weight.

"Billy has been mandatory (challenger) for quite a while. He stepped aside to allow Andy fight Matt Korobov and to fight Peter Quillin and now is his time.

"We respect that and we respect the special challenge that Billy Joe will bring. A fight for a world title in a football ground is as big as it gets.

"Andy is living the dream. He's fighting in an event he could only dream about. It is a very special and unique occasion. This is why we're in the sport."

Meanwhile, hopes of a unification clash - if Lee beats Saunders - and a rematch between Lee and Hassan N'Dam of Cameroon were ended in Montrealon Saturday night.

N'Dam, who beat Lee on a countback after a draw at the 2004 Olympics, lost his tilt for the vacant IBF title on points to David Lemieux.

N'Dam, managed by Cork's Gary Hyde, was down once in the second round, twice in the fifth and was floored again by Lemieux in the seventh in Quebec.

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