WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee had nothing but respect for Billy Joe Saunders this week as the pair went head-to-head at the venue of their impending clash.
Lee, 31, defends his title against 25 year-old mandatory challenger Saunders at Thormond Park in Ireland on September 19 and is expecting a tough contest as the world title holder makes the first defence of his coveted belt.
“I’m fighting one of the best middleweights in the world, he’s the British, Commonwealth and European Champion,” said Lee.
“He’s undefeated, he’s waited his time, and he will come in with a spirited challenge, but I’ve got to hold on to my belt,”
“I respect him, he’s an undefeated Olympian, this is going to be a hard, hard, fight and he’s going to take a lot of beating.
“His strongest strength is his will and how much he wants to win a fight. This isn’t a hand-picked fighter, he’s mandated and it’s a real fight.”
Saunders earned his spot with a standout victory over Chris Eubank Jr in November and goes into the fight an underdog at slight odds against. The Londoner aims to fulfil every fighter’s dream of becoming a world champion, although will have to do it the hard way ans take his chance in Lee’s own backyard.