By Terence Dooley
The addition of Billy Joe Saunders against Chris Eubank Junior to Frank Warren's November 29th bill at London's ExCel Arena is good news for Ireland's Andy Lee. BoxingScene can confirm that the 33-2 (23) southpaw will now meet Matt Korobov for the vacant WBO middleweight title, potential December venue and date TBA.
Korobov, 24-0 (14), is the number one ranked contender, Saunders is next in line with Lee rated fourth by the governing body. Eubank Junior sits at number nine in their latest rankings.
Saunders, 20-0 (11), was linked to Korobov earlier this week only for Eubank Junior, 17-0 (12), to ink his side of the fight contract earlier today. This left Korobov and Lee as the next viable option as Dimetrius Andrade, the organisation's light-middleweight titlist, has opted to remain at 154 despite being given the go-ahead to move up and contest the 160lb title.
Lee looked a real prospect early in his career only to be rocked and stopped by Brian Vera in 2008 (TKO 7). However, he fought his way back into contention, beating Vera courtesy of a 10-round decision en route to a June 2012 showdown with Julio Cesar Chavez Junior, who held the WBC middleweight title at the time. Lee was stopped in seven rounds that night; he has produced a run of five wins since then to earn his WBO ranking and another title shot.
Korobov has yet to taste defeat in the professional ranks; the 31-year-old Russian, who is also a southpaw, has fought all over America since turning over in the States. The two-time World Amateur Champion (2005 and 2007 respectively) will want to underline his fine amateur career by winning netting a professional world title win.
Please send news and views to @Terryboxing.