Tuesday 12 November 2019

If it was up to me I would be fighting in Limerick - Lee

WBO world champion Andy Lee
WBO world champion Andy Lee

Bernard O'Neill

Andy Lee insists he 'protested' the decision to move his world title defence from his hometown of Limerick to Manchester.

Lee was due to defend his WBO World middleweight belt against Billy Joe Saunders at Thomond Park on September 19. But in a massive blow for the sport in Ireland, it was announced last week that Lee had picked up a virus and the fight was moved across the water on October 10.

Lee is managed by Adam Booth and Saunders is managed by Frank Warren, who are co-promoting the fight.

"If it was up to me I would still be fighting in Limerick," said Lee. "Adam and Frank made the call. As much as I protested, they made the decision. You have to ask them."

Elsewhere, Ireland's Elite boxers could be involved in box-offs for Olympic places at the World Elite Championships in Qatar in October.

The International Boxing Association are planning to use box-offs to separate athletes in the weight divisions in which the top three qualify for Rio 2016.

Usually, the finalists and semi-finalist that loses to the eventual gold medallist in the last-four command the top three positions.

Five of the weights - bantam, light, light-welter, welter and middle - in Doha will require top three finishes to book Rio tickets.

Michael Conlan, Sean McComb, Dean Walsh, Adam Nolan, and Michael O'Reilly will compete in these weights in Doha. Conlan has already qualified for Rio through the World Series of Boxing.

Brendan Irvine and Joe Ward will line out for Ireland at light-fly and light-heavy at the World Championships. Both boxers will have to reach their finals to seal Olympic places.

Irish Independent

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