‘Christmas cracker’: Frank Warren promises epic Lee v Saunders Manchester bout

The much-anticipated December 19 bout between undefeated British-boxer Billy Joe Saunders and world middleweight champion Andy Lee at the Manchester Arena will be the perfect Christmas gift, says promoter Frank Warren.

The twice-postponed clash’s date was announced following Saturday’s humdinger of an event when Crumpsall-born Terry Flanagan retained his world lightweight championship with a second-round TKO of fellow-southpaw Diego Magdaleno in front of a hometown crowd.

On the same bill, Liam Smith captured the vacant WBO super-welterweight world crown with a seventh-round knockout of John Thompson and Warren, whose fighters include 22-0 Saunders, Smith and Flanagan, labelled the Mancunian’s performance as the most outstanding by a British fighter in the last two years as he prepares to put on another blockbuster in December.

“I think it’s going to be a Christmas cracker, there’s no other expression, that’s what it’s going to be; fans are going to get a real present in seeing these two guys in the ring,” said Warren.

“And there’ll be at least one other, maybe two world title fights, on the same card, featuring the guys who won [on Saturday] so we’ve got a fantastic show, a fantastic main event and I think whoever wins this is going to go on and do some serious business in the world of boxing.

“Britain’s on a high at the moment, and Ireland as well, and I feel that the way things are going, this side of the pond is showing what we can do and what we’re good at, and these guys are doing it big time.”

It is the third scheduling of the clash after a virus for Lee hampered the original September arrangement before a sparring injury sustained by Saunders wiped the bout from Saturday’s showcase.

However both camps are intent on finally putting the fight on the ‘front-burner’ ahead of another night of world-class boxing that will be a festive treat for fans.

“We’re in the sport of boxing for big fights and big nights like this. I’ve said it all along these two styles match up nicely,” said Lee’s trainer, Adam Booth.

“Flanagan and Magdaleno showed that when you get two southpaws that are matched up like that you can end up with good explosive fights, you don’t end up with negative southpaw bore-fests; this fight I’m convinced stacks up the same.

“I never thought I would see Terry Flanagan performing the way he did against a genuine world class challenger but all of a sudden he’s up there with the best of the British champions.

“December 19 is going to be a fight that does justice to following something like what Flanagan did.”

Tickets for December 19 will go on sale on Friday from midday at:

Image courtesy of iFL TV via YouTube, with thanks.

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