By Edward Chaykovsky
Promoter Frank Warren has rejected the widespread industry rumors that poor ticket sales were the main reason or the postponement of the WBO middleweight title fight between champion Andy Lee and mandatory challenger Billy Joe Saunders.
The fight was initially scheduled for September 19th at Thomond Park in Limerick as Lee's homecoming title defense.
But two weeks ago BoxingScene.com first reported that Lee had been battling a bad virus, which affected his training camp and he needed some additional time to properly prepare for the bout.
The fight was then postponed to October 10th in Manchester.
Warren insists it was Lee's illness, and not poor ticket sales, that forced the bout to change direction. He says the only reason the fight went to Manchester is because of scheduling issues, and there would be nothing to prevent a rematch from going to Limerick in the future.
“I believe the ticket sales were going well. From our point of view we’d sold over 4,000 tickets in the UK for it, I think up until then we were 12,500, nearly 13,000,” Warren said on 2FM’s Game On.
“We’re in August which is a holiday period, I’m quite sure that by the time the fight was going ahead we would have been fully sold out. Those tickets would have sold and if they hadn’t sold we would have still gone ahead with the show. But they were selling so it’s just people looking for things that do not exist. The bottom line is that the show was selling very well and it would have sold out.”
“The problem was that would take us into October and we’d already called a date for Terry Flanagan to fight at the Manchester Arena on that day. The following week there’s another show which Matchroom are involved in and the week after that you’ve got Klitschko and Fury.
“That would have taken us until the end of October and even if the venue in Limerick had been available I don’t see us doing an open air show the day before November. I’m sure nobody would want to sit outside in that weather, not knowing if it was going to rain or not. It just wasn’t feasible so the sensible thing to do was to push the fight back and to find another venue.”