By Edward Chaykovsky
Former champion Andy Lee admits he was validly beaten by Billy Joe Saunders on December 19th in Manchester. Lee lost his WBO middleweight championship by way of a majority decision. Two judges saw it for Saunders based on scores of 114-112 and 115-111, while a third had it a 113-113 draw.
Lee was able to come on strong in the championship rounds, but it wasn't enough to overcome the third round, where Lee hit the floor twice - and gave Saunders a 10-7 edge when that third bell sounded.
The Irish fighter had no complaints and felt good about his overall performance in the ring. Lee will go back to drawing board with trainer Adam Booth to figure out the next move for his career in 2016.
“The two knockdowns cost me the fight,” said Lee to Irish News. “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 (23-0, 12KOs), he doesn't rule out the idea of a rematch with Lee down the line. With the title now around his waist, Saunders has become an immediate target among the top names in his division.
“Andy showed a good account of himself,” said Saunders. “I’m sure we could do a bigger venue down in London, that’s something that we could talk about as well.”