Andy Lee confirms Thomond Park title fight in September

BoxingBy Sean McGoldrick
Andy Lee will defend his crown against Billy Joe Saunders
Andy Lee will defend his crown against Billy Joe Saunders

Andy Lee confirms he will defend his WBO world middleweight in Limerick’s Thomond Park on September 19, the eve of the All-Ireland football final.

Update: June 20, 13.25:

As we told you yesterday, the big fight is on.

The Limerick boxer will face unbeaten mandatory challenge Billy Joe Saunders in what will be the biggest professional fight in the Republic of Ireland since the halcyon days of Steve Collins during the 1990s.

While the fight was yet to be officially confirmed sources in Limerick say it will go ahead in the city’s rugby ‘cathedral’ Lee’s dream has to defend his title in his native county.

It appears as if Lee’s coach Andy Booth has persuaded promoter Frank Warren to stage the fight in the Treaty City.

Lee sensationally won the WBO world title last December when he stopped the previously unbeaten Russian Matt Korobov in the sixth round in Las Vegas.

The Irish Olympian was pencilled in to defend the title against unbeaten former champion Peter Quillin in Brooklyn in April but the latter was unable to make the weight.

The fight was downgraded to a non-title bout and after looking in serious trouble in the early stages Lee staged a magnificent recovery to earn a draw.

Lee’s overall record in the professional ranks now stands 34-1-2. He is currently recovering from a shoulder injury but is confident of being fit for the September showdown against Saunders.

Meanwhile, at the European Games in Baku, Belfast light flyweight Brendan Irvine outclassed Bulgarian opponent Tinko Banabak 3-0 (30-26; 30-27, 29-28) to advance to the last sixteen.

Cavan’s Ceire Smith made a winning debut in Baku when she outclassed Camilla Johansen.  She won all four rounds to advance to the next stage.