Unbeaten Billy Joe Saunders bullish ahead of Andy Lee clash


Unbeaten British middleweight Billy Joe Saunders claims to have the advantage over WBO champion Andy Lee ahead of their title clash this weekend.

Lee took the WBO strap from Matt Korobov via a sixth-round TKO in December 2014 and will defend the belt for the first time after his last opponent, Peter Quillin, failed to make the weight for their Brooklyn clash in April this year.

That bout ended in a draw, meaning Lee has now failed to win three of his 37 fights – losing to Julio Chavez Jr and Brian Vera – and Saunders is adamant this gives him the upper hand.

“I believe I have the advantage going into this fight knowing that I’ve never been beaten before,’ said Saunders,” the 26-year-old to the Daily Mail.

‘It definitely gives you confidence knowing that you have overcome everyone you’ve ever faced and I think it does have an effect on you when you lose. Some fighters say that losing doesn’t play a part but it has to because you go into a fight weaker mentally and sometimes physically.”

Saunders has won all 22 of his fights so far, with 12 of those victories coming inside the distance, but with just two of his last six fights being won by stoppage a close fight is expected when he and Lee meet at the Manchester Arena.

This is reflected in the odds, with Ladbrokes pricing the reigning champion as marginal 4/5 favourite, while Saunders is an even-money shot to land the title.

The draw is on at 33/1 and while this market is rightly overlooked on many occasions, with Lee fighting a stalemate last time out and these two fighters so evenly-matched a small stake could be tempting.

The bout comes at a time when British boxing is riding the crest of a wave with no fewer than 11 world champions.

This means there will be more eyes than usual on this England v Ireland scrap and after the performances put in by the likes of Tyson Fury, Chris Eubank Jr and Anthony Joshua in recent weeks the watching crowds will be expecting big things.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.