THE ‘boxing is a business first sport later’ saying certainly seems to ring true when the differing values of currencies is cited as a reason to host a fight in a certain country.
Frank Warren, promoter of Billy Joe Saunders mandatory challenger for Andy Lee’s WBO middleweight title, is certainly putting the financial gain ahead of the game when he suggests London,because of the value of the pound, is a better place to hold a title fight between the Limierick man and the Londoner.
Having won the belt in December and secured a lucrative pay day in New York, whilst drawing with Peter Quillin last weekend, Lee is desperate for a homing clash. The Limerick man wants to give back to the sport in his country and indeed his city by defending against Saunders in Thomond Park.
Warren and his European champion are open to making the trek across the Irish sea, but the promoter believes England makes more financial sense and wants to put the bout on in London.
“I expect the fight to go where it makes the most money for the boxers. Ireland would be a big one but in England it would be really huge. You would generate more money on the gate in England because of the difference between the euro and the pound at the moment.
“I’d be really disappointed if it did less than 30,000 in an outdoor venue and if you take that into account, the difference between the pound and euro could be significant.
“But make no mistake, Billy will fight absolutely anywhere and he would be happy to travel. He is the challenger and ready to achieve his dream.”
Lee has yet to confirm a Saunders clash, but is mandated to defend against Spike O’Sullivan’s former foe and the pair seem likely to trade leather this Summer. Lee has been suggesting an August return, but Warren indicates June or July would be ideal.
There is also the possibility of a Peter Quillin rematch for Lee, but Warren claims Saunders, who has twice stepped aside will not do so again.
He added: “I would never say we are not open to offers but at the moment that rematch will not happen – Bill is next in line.
“The WBO have written to everyone involved telling them to get this one on. We want to get everything agreed on a fight for June or July and get it announced.”
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