Andy Lee

Submitted by on Sep 18, 2015

Manchester move out of Andy Lee’s hands

Andy Lee said that he still wanted the fight to go ahead at Thomond Park

Andy Lee has said he still wanted his world title fight with Billy Joe Saunders to go ahead at Thomond Park, despite suffering from a virus, but the decision was taken out of the Limerick man’s hands.

The world-title defence has been moved to Manchester on 10 October to allow Lee to recover from his illness, but the WBO champion said that his coach Adam Booth and promoter Frank Warren made the decision to move the date and the venue.

“It doesn’t sound that eloquent but that’s literally what I have to do. To go in there and with every punch, hurt him.”

The fight will take place at the Manchester Arena in front of 15,000 fans and Lee’s defence is now part of a triple-bill of WBO world title fights at the atmospheric indoor arena, along with Terry Flanagan v Diego Magdaleno (Lightweight) and Liam Smith v Michel Soro (vacant Light middleweight).

The contest will be shown live on BoxNation, and speaking to the cable channel after today’s press conference, Lee clarified the situation with the venue change and confirmed that he would be back training at the end of the week.

“I didn’t make the decision,”said Lee.”If it was up to me I would still be fighting in Limerick. I’d take a week or two out of training and I would have been fine to get back into it.

“But Adam and Frank made the call and, well, you’d have to ask them about it because they made the decision and as much as I protested, it was their decision. They’re the ones that are promoting it and they are the ones taking the risk financially, so it just had to be that way.

All the disappointment of the last week has only strengthened my resolve. Now, nothing will stop me from winning this fight.

— Andy Lee (@AndyLeeBoxing) August 15, 2015

“It’s disappointing about what happened at Limerick as it meant a lot to me, but you need to be at 100% for these fights. I’ve worked long and hard to get the belt and to go into a fight not being well and risk losing it was too big a chance to take.

“I’m still a little bit rough so I’m going to have a couple more days’ rest and then get back training at the end of the week.”

Lee would not be drawn into the debate as to who might be considered favourite for the fight, now that he has effectively given away home advantage to his English opponent, but rather states that he believes that both boxers have their strengths to make it a very even contest.

“There’s not much between us,”said Lee.”For what I gain in power, he gains in speed. So our strengths and weaknesses balance out and it might come down to who wants it more.”

When asked whether Saunders might be the trickiest opponent that he has faced over his 37-fight career (34-2-1), Lee was non-committal but did say that he believes Saunders possesses the most bravado of any boxer that he has met.

“Maybe, yeah, but definitely with the most bravado, he has a bit of spark about him. But as I said I’m just going to have to beat it out of him. I’ve said it before, it’s my job to beat it out of him.

“It doesn’t sound that eloquent but that’s literally what I have to do. To go in there and with every punch hurt him.”

Meanwhile, Lee’s opponent, Saunders believes that the rescheduled fight has worked out in his favour as he is now fighting in his home country.

"I would rather him say, ‘I’m not well, I need a few more extra weeks’ than if I beat him, excuses," said Saunders. "He’s a proud man, so I’m sure there is a reason behind it.

"It’s been put back three weeks, so it’s not the end of the world. And it’s in England, so it’s worked out in my favour. But I’m not looking for no advantages or no help when I’m in that ring but to win it in front of my fans would be a dream come true."

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