Billy Joe Saunders earns middleweight belt with upset over Andy Lee

December 20, 2015

Billy Joe Saunders, a relatively unknown British southpaw, dethroned and upset WBO Middleweight World Champion Andy Lee with a 12-round majority decision Saturday in Manchester, England.

The fight was scored 115-111, 114-112, and 113-113. With the win, Saunders became the 12th current British world champion.

In the third, Saunders (23-0, 12 KOs) had a huge 10-7 round, dropping Lee twice – first with a big right hook, and again with a counter right just 30 seconds later.

“I’m world champion,” Saunders said.   “I beat a good champion today, a good sturdy champion.  I used his power against him.  When I was boxing he got a little bit careless and dropped his lead hand and I caught him with the hook."

Lee (34-3-1, 24 KOs) fought his way back and was the more aggressive fighter in the championship rounds, but it wasn’t enough to make up for a slow start and the two knockdowns.

“I’m not going to start running my mouth, but it was a good shot," said Saunders.  "With someone as fast as me you have to keep your hands up.  I’m not the biggest puncher in the world, but I showed you there that I can punch.”

One boxer negatively impacted by the upset was current WBA Middleweight World Champion Daniel Jacobs, who recently scored a knockout of Peter Quillin.  Jacobs had been hoping for a good payday against Lee, but those plans have now gone up in smoke.

“I thought he was going to be a big brawler, I thought he had better assets,” Jacobs said of Lee.  “He didn’t do enough for me.  He was too complacent and after the knockdown you didn’t see that sense of urgency that a fighter has to have on the comeback trail."

After watching the fight, Jacobs wasn’t ready to commit to a unification showdown in 2016 with the winner.

“All credit due to Billy Joe, but it wasn’t an impressive victory," said Jacobs. “We’ll do whatever makes sense.  I think it’s time to sit-down and figure what makes sense.  Obviously it’s a good time to be a middleweight champion.”

By Staff of and news services

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