Billy Joe Saunders defeats Andy Lee to claim the WBO middleweight title

The decision came on points after a cagey, close fight

Andy Lee, Billy Joe Saunders,

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Andy Lee lost his WBO World Middleweight title in the Manchester Arena on Saturday night. 

In a close fight, it was the third round that proved decisive as challenger Billy Joe Saunders managed to knock Lee to the canvas on two occasions. 

In the rounds that followed, Lee managed to get back into a rhythm as he looked to recover from the knockdowns, but he was unable to connect with enough big hits to level things up and take the decision on points. 

As Lee jabbed his way back into contention, he looked to land several hard shots and clearly dominated the late rounds, showing the edge and resilience that had given him the title in the first place. However, Saunders' big shots in round three proved too much to overcome for the champion. 

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

The scoring from the judges was varied, with one card having it down as a draw and another giving it to Saunders by four points, as the three judges called it 113-113, 114-112 and 115-111 meaning that, by majority decision, Saunders is the new middleweight champion of the world.