Boxing fans disappointed as Andy Lee fight moved from home city

Andy Lee

Emma Jane Hade

Boxing fans have been left "disappointed" after Andy Lee confirmed that his highly anticipated home fight would not be happening.

The 31-year-old confirmed last night that, due to illness, his title defence fight against Billy Joe Saunders would no longer be happening in Thomond Park.

It is now set to be held in Manchester on October 10 instead. The change in location is due to scheduling issues according to the boxer, as the fight had originally been pencilled in to take place in Limerick on the eve of the All-Ireland Final on September 19.

However, Limerick TD Willie O'Dea has said it is "incumbent" upon the local authorities and boxing organisations to see that the decision is reversed.

"The city needs this," Mr O'Dea said. "This is shocking news. I am bitterly disappointed. It would have been a huge night in Limerick. There has to be a damn good reason for this."

Mayor of Limerick city, Jerry O'Dea, echoed his disappointment, as it is believed the fight would have attracted up to 33,000 people to the city.

"It would have been an opportunity to showcase our city and how far it has come in recent years.

"Andy, his own promoters, Limerick City Council and Thomond Park put a huge amount of work into this. Andy desperately wanted it. I feel very upset for him."

It is estimated that the fight may have been worth at least €10m for the local economy as many of the travelling fans would have flocked to the city's pubs, restaurants and hotels. Several hotels had already said they were sold out for the night of the fight.

The Irish Hotels Federation advised disappointed fans to contact hotels directly or else the source through which they had made their booking in order to find out about their cancellation policies.