Andy Lee-Billy Joe Saunders WBO title fight moved to October 10 in Manchester
WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee's world title defence against British challenger Billy Joe Saunders has been moved from Thomond Park on September 19 to Manchester on October 10.
The reason given was that Irishman Lee has been suffering from a virus - thus forcing the fight to be postponed. And Saunders' promoter Frank Warren confirmed the fight would now take place at the Manchester Arena.
Lee's promoter Lou DiBella said: "I got a call from Andy Booth (Lee's manager and trainer), who told me that Andy has been battling a virus on and off for the last couple of weeks, and that they are moving the fight back to October 10."
Warren said: "Adam contacted me and quite correctly let me know that Andy was ill. Whilst they were prepared to gamble on him recovering in time, there is so much at stake for so many people, common sense had to prevail. We simply cannot risk this fight not happening and, therefore, the decision was made that we should postpone the fight to ensure it does.
"With October being such a busy month in the boxing calendar and every Saturday having a show, we could not afford to wait until November and risk going outdoors. The only viable option available to us was to move the fight to the Manchester Arena on October 10. It's a shame for Andy Lee that his dream of defending his world title in Limerick cannot be fulfilled now, but this being such a big fight neither boxer can risk going into the ring at anything less than 100 percent. Also, from Billy Joe Saunders' point of view, he is in training camp in Spain and to not have a firm date for the fight would not be fair on him, so Manchester is the best solution."
Lee, 31, stopped Matt Korobov in the sixth round in December to win the vacant WBO title. He made his first defence last April, battling former champion Peter Quillin to a draw in a fight in which both men were knocked down twice. Quillin was not eligible to win the belt because he failed to make weight at the weigh-in.
Saunders, 25, earned his shot when he outpointed Chris Eubank Jr last November in a European title defence that was also a world title eliminator. He then stopped journeyman Yoann Bloyer in the fourth round in July in his last outing.