WBO middleweight champion of the world Andy Lee (34-2-1, 24 KOs) will defend his world title September 19th at home in his native Ireland. Thomond Park Stadium, in Limerick, Ireland will host the event which is home to the local Rugby team. Lee will defend his title for the second time against his mandatory challenger unbeaten Billy Joe Saunders (21-0, 11 KOs) of England. The two were to have fought in Lee’s first defense but Lee was granted permission by the WBO to defend against former world champion Peter Quillin who he fought this past April. Their bout ended in an action filled draw with Lee retaining his title.
Lee was paid a reported career high purse to fight Quillin in Quillin’s hometown no less in Brooklyn, New York. Lee entered the fight as a decisive underdog. The thing is Lee didn’t see it that way and had no plans at all of allowing Quillin to become a two time world champion at his expense of losing. In the early going to the odds seemed appropriate as Lee was down in rounds 1 and 3. Lee showed a lot of heart to not only survive this but to come back and get himself back into the fight. He actually dropped Quillin in round 11. The fight ended up going the distance where the official scores by the judges had the fight as a draw. In Lee’s case this was as good as a win. He got a big payday and retained his world title.
Lee will now face Saunders which is a more favorable fight for him than Quillin was thought to have been. If anything Lee should learn from that experience and know that Saunders is capable of giving him the fight that he gave Quillin. Saunders is a southpaw just like Lee is and he hasn’t lost as a professional. Those can be the most dangerous opponents sometimes because mentally they don’t anything but winning. Lee will be fighting at home which can be pressure but at the same time gives the local favorite extra motivation to succeed. Lee has waited a long time for this opportunity to fight in a world title fight at home and he is for sure determined to be victorious.