Boxing

Nightmare third round cost me World Title admits Andy Lee

Andy Lee attempts to regain his senses after being floored by Billy Joe Saunders in the third round of Saturday night’s world middleweight title fight in Manchester

ANDY Lee admitted two third round knockdowns cost him his WBO World middleweight title after Saturday night’s defeat to Billy Joe Saunders in Manchester.

After a cagey opening two rounds, Limerick southpaw Lee was rocked when a short, sharp right hook from Saunders left him sprawled out on the canvas.

Despite clambering to his feet, Lee was soon down again when, after attempting to meet fire with fire, he was knocked down by another Saunders right hook.

Although he battled back in the later rounds, Saunders was given the nod 114-112 and 115-111 by two of the judges, with the third scoring it a 113-113 draw.

And Lee admitted that awful third round had left him with a mountain to climb as he bid to hold on to the title he won last year with victory over Matvey Korobov.

“The two knockdowns cost me the fight,” said the Adam Booth-trained Lee.

“He deserved to win so I can’t complain with the decision. I would like another go of it, I felt I finished stronger but the two knockdowns cost me the fight.”

For Saunders, the world is now at his fists – and the 26-year-old hasn’t ruled out a rematch with Lee.

“Andy showed a good account of himself tonight, a rematch could go,” said Saunders, who extended his perfect record to 23-0, which includes 12 knock-out wins.

“I’m sure we could do a bigger venue down in London, that’s something that we could talk about as well.”

Another rematch – against Chris Eubank jnr – was also being discussed after Saturday night’s fight, and Saunders’s promoter Frank Warren insists his man plenty of options.

When asked if a rematch with Eubank jnr was next on the agenda for the Hertfordshire fighter, Warren told BBC Radio 5 live: “Bill beat him and he also beat Spike O’Sullivan, who Eubank fought last week. Will they do a rematch? I don’t know.

“Eubank could have had a rematch about three or four months ago but he chose not to do so so we just moved on and Bill has now won the title and can sit back and consider a lot of options.

“We’ll have a good think over Christmas, let him enjoy his Christmas and then we’ll work on the next one.”

Saunders had ended Eubank Jr’s perfect record in November 2014.

On the fight with Lee, Warren added: “Bill really did use his brain and I was really pleased with his performance.

“I think it was a compelling fight because both of them were trying to out-think each other, there were some dramatic moments, especially when Bill knocked Andy down a couple of times.

“I just thought it was a great fight to watch and for a proper boxing fan, a purist, I enjoyed it.”

 

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