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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 22 May, 2018

Andy Lee's world title fight against Billy Joe Saunders is OFF

Middleweight showdown will take place “as soon as possible” after Saunders cut forces another delay.

"Hugely disappointed": Lee may now have to wait until November to make his first title defence.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

ANDY LEE’S WORLD title showdown with Billy Joe Saunders has been put on ice again.

The WBO middleweight title clash was postponed for a second time after it was confirmed this afternoon that Saunders received a cut eye in sparring.

Ireland’s champion tweeted: “Hugely disappointed for myself and for the boxing public. These things happen.  Me and @bjsaunders_ will get it on when the new date is set.”

Lee and Saunders were set to finally meet in Manchester as part of a world title triple-header on 10 October.

Their original date in Limerick’s Thomond Park was scrapped last month when Lee picked up a virus that hampered his preparation.

Promoter Frank Warren confirmed that the Manchester card will go ahead as planned otherwise, and said Lee’s long-awaited first defence will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

Ticket holders have seven days from today (1 September) to get a full refund at the original point of purchase, the promoter said.

Unbeaten Saunders remains the WBO mandatory challenger and Lee indicated this evening that he won’t take another fight in the meantime. ESPN report that a date in late November is now the preferred option.

“Till then I’m on vacation :)” Lee added.

Saunders said: “First of all I’m sorry to Andy and all the fans that this fight has had to be postponed again.”

It’s completely unfortunate that I got a cut during a sparring session, but there’s nothing I can do now until the specialist advises me on when I can resume training and fight again.

“I’m committed to this world title fight, I’m the WBO mandatory challenger and the WBO have confirmed that I’ll remain the mandatory challenger.

“It’s just a very frustrating situation at the moment as myself and Andy just want to get in the ring and fight after all the delays.”

The IABA have (kind of) broken their silence on the Billy Walsh debacle

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Niall Kelly

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