Billy Joe Saunders v Andy Lee world title fight postponed
PUBLISHED: 20:46 12 August 2015 | UPDATED: 11:12 13 August 2015
Hatfield boxer Billy Joe Saunders has had his September 19 world title fight with champion Andy Lee postponed.
Lee, the WBO world middleweight title holder, has been hit with a virus which has caused his clash against mandatory challenger Saunders to be put back.
Saunders’ promoter Frank Warren said: “Adam [Booth, Lee’s promoter and trainer] 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 alongside Terry Flanagan’s defence of his WBO Lightweight title in a show that is shaping up to be one of the best cards in years.
“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 per cent.
“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.
“This is a huge fight in whatever city it takes place and, as it has proved so many times in the past, the Manchester Arena is the ideal home and I’m sure it will sell-out with such a huge card taking shape.
“I’m proud to have staged the top three boxing events at the Arena and I think this one could certainly equal or surpass those.”
Co-promoter Adam Booth said: “Obviously, Andy and I are gutted that this won’t be taking place in Limerick.
“If the virus had cleared, then maybe it could have.
“However, after speaking with Frank, my partner in the event, we decided that the risk was just too great on many fronts.
“We now move forward with a new date, a new venue, and like Frank, I have had many great nights at the Manchester Arena and we are looking forward to another.”
A major press conference will be taking place in Manchester on Monday where the rest of the show will be announced that will feature three World Championships.
Tickets purchased for the cancelled Limerick show can be returned to the point of sale for a full refund.
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