ANDY Lee says he is missing out on a ‘dream come true’ after being denied the chance to defend his WBO World Middleweight title in his hometown of Limerick.
A virus contracted by the Irishman has forced co-promoter Frank Warren to postpone the event, which has been moved from September 19 in Thomond Park to October 10 in Manchester Arena.
Billy Joe Saunders is Lee’s mandatory challenger, and the pair will now headline a triple world title bill that also includes British fighters Terry Flanagan and Liam Smith, who will fight Diego Magdaleno and Michael Soro respectively.
“It was very disappointing because a fight in Limerick would have been a dream come true, but it wasn’t to be,” said a distraught Lee, who accepts the decision to postpone was fair.
“It was the right call – I’m going to need to be 100 per cent in order to win against Billy Joe so I had to get over it and focus on my next fight.
“It was a close fight anyway and now it’s even closer than it was before. There’s a lot of pride on the line and we’re going to leave it in the ring.”
Meanwhile, Warren has denied that the decision to postpone the event was actually down to a lack of ticket sales, with Thomond Park previously ear-marked for 33,000 attendees.
However, the new venue is only holds 21,000, but 63-year-old Warren stated the event would have gone ahead as planned in Limerick if it wasn’t for Lee’s mystery illness.
He said: “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.”