WBO Middleweight titlist Andy Lee has been hit with a virus which has caused his fight against mandatory challenger Billy Joe Saunders to be postponed from September 19th 2015.
Whilst the virus is not serious, Lee’s Promoter, manager and trainer, Adam Booth, informed co-promoter Frank Warren about it and whilst the Lee camp were happy to see if it cleared up in the next fortnight Warren, who also manages Billy Joe Saunders, was not prepared to take the risk with so much at stake:
“Adam 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 the 10th October 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%. 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.”
On Behalf of the Lee camp, 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.