Video by Declan Taylor
UK – SHOWTIME Sports® will present the WBO Middleweight World Championship between defending titlist Andy Lee and unbeaten challenger Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday, Dec. 19, live on SHO EXTREME (5 p.m. ET/PT) from Manchester, England.
The SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL offering of the Box Nation telecast will feature analysis from SHOWTIME boxing experts Brian Custer, Al Bernstein and Paulie Malignaggi before and after the world championship showdown. An encore presentation of the bout will air on SHO EXTREME later that evening at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Ireland’s Lee (34-2-1, 24 KOs) won the vacant WBO title with a sixth-round TKO of then-undefeated Matt Korbov in December 2014. The 6-foot-2, 31-year old was on a six-fight win streak before boxing a split 12-round draw with undefeated former champion Peter Quillin on April 11, 2015, in Brooklyn. Both fighters went down in a highly competitive scrap that was scored 113-112 for Quillin, 113-112 for Lee and 113-113.
Before turning pro Lee was a top amateur and represented Ireland in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Saunders (22-0, 12 KOs), of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, is the WBO’s No. 1 middleweight contender. The 26-year-old is coming off a fourth-round TKO over Yoannan Bloyer last July 24 in London.
Two starts ago, in the most note-worth victory of his career, the 5-foot-11, Saunders took a 12-round split decision over Chris Eubank Jr. on Nov. 29, 2014, in London. All but one of Saunders’ fights have taken place in England; the other was Northern Ireland.
Saunders was also an accomplished amateur; he represented England in the 2008 Olympic Games as a welterweight at the age of 18. Saunders is the great-grandson of one of Britain's most famous gypsy bare-knuckle champions, Absolom Beeney.