Video By Declan Taylor
NEW YORK – Billy Joe Saunders dethroned WBO Middleweight World Champion Andy Lee with a 12-round majority decision Saturday on SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL from Manchester, England.
The fight, which was scored 115-111, 114-112 and 113-113.
In a matchup of tactical southpaws, an explosive third round from Saunders (23-0, 12 KOs) was the difference. The British challenger floored Lee twice – first with a big right hook and again with a counter right just 30 seconds later – and a dazed Lee somehow survived the 10-7 round.
The Irish Lee (34-3-1, 24 KOs) fought his way back and was the more aggressive fighter in the championship rounds, but it wasn’t enough to make up for a slow start and the two knockdowns.
With the win, Saunders became the 12th current British world champion.
“I’m world champion,” Saunders said. “I beat a good champion today, a good sturdy champion. I used his power against him. When I was boxing he got a little bit careless and dropped his lead hand and I caught him with the hook.
“I’m not going to start running my mouth, but it was a good shot. With someone as fast as me you have to keep your hands up. I’m not the biggest puncher in the world, but I showed you there that I can punch.”