Headline NewsPro News

Lee to avoid verbal sparring and says Saunders clash doesn’t need fake hype

ANDY Lee is more than ready to trade leather with Billy Joe Saunders in Thomond Park on September 19, but isn’t too keen to trade verbal blows in the build up to the massive event.

The WBO middleweight champion of the World prefers to let his fist do the talking and avoids pre fight hype.

The Limerick man, who is excited about bring such a major fight and event to his home city, believes with his reputation in boxing, his achievement to date and the fact he is a homecoming World champ should be hype enough.

Saunders had more verbal sparring sessions with Chris Eubank Jr ahead of his last fight than he did training spars, but has shown respect for the Limerick since he was confirmed as mandatory for the Limerick man’s title.

That might change at next weeks press conference and whilst Lee is an out of the ring verbal pacifist by nature he admits he might be drawn into some verbal jousting.

“It’s never been my style. You never know how it’s going to go but stuff like that has to be natural. People love it, the hype and all, but it’s not something I do,” The 31 year old gent told Sky Sports.

“It has to be organic. Maybe it will be between us. There’ll be a lot of pride there but the best man will win and when it’s all over we’ll shake hands.

“There are a lot of fighters that talk a lot – especially on social media now – and they’re not even British champion. The way they talk, you’d swear they were climbing mountains.

“I’ll just be myself. That’s who I am. I don’t look for publicity. When I’m fighting, that’s when I do my business. People are starting to recognise me, though, since becoming world champion and joining with Adam Booth. You just have to look at my record in the sport, my history at the Kronk Gym in Detroit and all the fights the last few years, because all that will speak louder than any bold statement I can make.

“The thing that makes this fight special is it’s in my hometown. It’s going to be at Thomond Park and it’s going to be a special night for Limerick and for Ireland.

“The fact that it’s in Limerick makes it more about the fight and about me in terms of the event. There’s a romance about that because I’ve fought all over the world, won a world title and am returning home to defend that world title for the first time.

“Had the fight been here in England, it would have been billed as ‘Gypsy Kings’ or ‘Clash of the Gypsies’ or something and I think that cheapens it. We’re two very good boxers, world-rated. I’m number two and he’s number nine in The Ring ratings. This is a significant fight.

“If he wants to approach it that way then that’s up to him. It’s true we’re both from travelling backgrounds and maybe that adds an extra element to it but first and foremost this is for the middleweight championship of the world and there’s no bigger accolade than that.”


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years