Andy Lee-Billy Joe Saunders set for December 19
WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee (34-2-1, 24 KOs) will now fight British challenger Billy Joe Saunders (22-0, 12 KOs) on December 19 at the Manchester Arena.
After two postponements – Lee with a viral infection and Saunders with a cut eye, the Irishman will finally be making the first defence of his WBO title against fellow southpaw Saunders.
Lee won the vacant belt by stopping Matt Korobov in the 6th round last December, and he was set to defend it against former champion Peter Quillin, but the American failed to make the weight. Lee fought Quillin to a 12-round draw in a action packed non-title bout in April.
"The delay in the fight between me and Saunders has just made me more determined," said Lee. "Once I’ve beaten him I can move on in my career and unify the titles.
"My fans have been very patient and I’ll give them what they have been waiting for as a Christmas present, beating Saunders and remaining world champion. I’m a proud man and I’m prepared to fight ‘tooth and nail’ to keep my title. Saunders is in for the fight of his life."
The unbeaten mandatory challenger Saunders is equally excited to finally get it on with his rival and said: "Like Lee, I just want to get in the ring and fight. We’ve talked and talked for months, now we just want to fight. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s here now and nobody is going to stop me."