Andy Lee and Billy Joe Saunders went head-to-head again on Wednesday, this time in London, as the Middleweights talked up their historic all-traveller WBO world title bout – The Showdown At Thomond Park.
The champion, 31 year old Lee (34-2-1 with 24 KOs), defends his belt for the first time on September 19 in front of his home fans at Thomond Park in Limerick, Ireland (Although he and Peter Quillin couldn’t be separated after the final bell in April, Lee’s belt were not on the line.) While the challenger Saunders (21-0 with 11 KOs) will enter the ring undefeated and able to boast an record of ‘taking the 0’s’ of his last for opponents, including a points win over bitter rival Chris Eubank Jr last time out.
Both fighters are supremely confident in their abilities to out think and hurt the other, and are relishing the chance to make history in this 50/50 match-up.
“For me it’s about walking away with the world title belt,” said Saunders. “I’m the first traveller to win a Lonsdale belt outright, but this is absolutely huge, two travellers making history and fighting for the world title and plus the bragging rights on top,”
“This fight is massive in the travelling community, but it isn’t just about the travelling community, it’s for the boxing fans everywhere, Ireland, England, the world, it’s doesn’t get any bigger than this,”
“We’re both proud fighting men and I could sit here and say ‘I’m going to smash him up or knock him out’ but to me this is a genuine 50/50 fight,”
“You’re going to see one of the best fights in a long time.”
Lee won his strap with a thrilling sixth round stoppage of Matt Korobov in December, and is confident of making a successful defence under the lights of Munster Rugby’s stadium.
“Mine and Billy’s upbringing and the pride we bring into the ring is why we have been so successful,” said Lee.
“We’re men’s men who come from a travellers’ background and we can’t let anyone beat us. Whoever wins will be the hero and, unfortunately, whoever loses, won’t be shamed, but will be known as the loser,”
“Billy is the mandatory challenger and I had to fight him, there was no way I was ever going to avoid him, I’m too proud,”
“I’ve worked too hard to win this title and I don’t intend on giving it up and it was important for me to defend my title.”
Tickets for The Showdown At Thomond Park – Andy Lee vs Billy Joe Saunders – are on sale now, get yours here.