Saunders defeats Lee to claim middleweight belt

Billie Joe Saunders

 

IN a first for boxing, two travellers duked it out for world championship glory with Billie Joe Saunders edging out Andy Lee to a majority decision and taking the Irishman’s WBO middleweight belt.

 

The 26-year-old undefeated former Olympian dropped his veteran opponent twice in the third round but the champion’s resilience saw him outwork the younger man in the championship rounds, though not enough to retain his title.

 

Judges at the Manchester Arena scored the bout 113-113 and 114-112, 115-111 for Saunders.

 

The fight pitted two men from the British travelling community against one another lending a distinct air to the bout with an intense though respectful build up focusing on their backgrounds.

 

Lee was the favourite going into the fight, with his two losses seen more as an indicator of his elite experience rather than a weakness. Saunders, however, was the more skilled operator and made up for his lack of knockout punch with a fluid technical display.

 

Saunders now joins the likes of Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez as a middleweight champion but a likely rematch with Chris Eubank Jr remains the most lucrative domestic option.

The 26-year-old undefeated former Olympian dropped his veteran opponent twice in the third round but the champion’s resilience saw him outwork the younger man in the championship rounds, though not enough to retain his title.

Judges at the Manchester Arena scored the bout 113-113 and 114-112, 115-111 for Saunders.

The fight pitted two men from the British travelling community against one another lending a distinct air to the bout with an intense though respectful build up focusing on their backgrounds.

Lee was the favourite going into the fight, with his two losses seen more as an indicator of his elite experience rather than a weakness. Saunders, however, was the more skilled operator and made up for his lack of knockout power with a fluid and technical display.

Saunders now joins the likes of Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez as a middleweight champion but a likely rematch with Chris Eubank Jr remains the most lucrative domestic option.

 

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