Andy Lee ready preparing for a war with Billy Joe Saunders
ANDY Lee says he will be ready to go to war when he steps between the ropes to face Billy Joe Saunders on September 19.
Yesterday’s press conference at Thomond Park in Lee’s home city of Limerick was a polite affair compared to most events of this nature.
There was no trash-talk, no battle of egos, but there is no doubt that former Olympians Lee and Saunders mean business.
“It ain’t tiddlywinks,” said the reigning WBO world middleweight champion.
“He’s going to come to try and knock me out. When the bell rings we’re going to try and take each other’s heads off. Make no mistake about it, this is as close as it gets to warfare.
“There are so many ingredients in this fight that the chemistry is good. This is a dream come true for me.
“After I stepped off the plane at Shannon after becoming world champion I said my first wish was to defend my title in Limerick.”
Having been granted that wish Lee, who is trained by Adam Booth, is determined not to disapppoint his army of fans in what promoters are predicting will be a 34,000 sell-out.
He continued: “I’m going to have to train harder than ever for this.
“I intend to box this fight all the way through, but I know that at some stage that if I land the right punch I can end this fight at any time.
“This is a great event. It’s a chance to give something back to Limerick.”
Saunders, who is six years younger that 31-year-old Lee, stepped aside to allow Lee to meet – and beat – Russia’s Matt Korobov for the vacant world title in Las Vegas last December.
He also stepped aside to allow Lee to defend against Peter Quillin in New York in April, though that bout – which ended in a draw – was declared a non-title fight after Quillin failed to make the weight.
Saunders hasn’t fought since a split decision win over Chris Eubank jnr last November last year, and whether there is any ring rust remains to be seen.
However, the British champion is confident.
He said: “Everyone wants home advantage, but he’s the champion and the champion gets what he wants.
“He’s a good champion. He’s been to America and caused some big upsets. A lot of fights need building up. This fight here, there’s something in this fight. This fight doesn’t need talking up.
“There’s a man out there to beat every man. Me and Andy are skilled fighters. We’re both Olympians, that pedigree is ground into us.
“So, you’re going to see one thing and that’s definitely skill. This fight has lit up something inside of me.”