3 More Rounds

Saunders steps aside to allow Lee vs. Quillin

Lee will instead face Quillin next (Photo: Chris Farina / Top Rank)

Lee will instead face Quillin next (Photo: Chris Farina / Top Rank)

On Thursday, Billy Joe Saunders and promoter Frank Warren struck at deal with Lou DiBella to sidestep his mandatory title shot against middleweight titlist Andy Lee, to allow Peter Quillin to instead get the opportunity.

The initial plan was to have Lee, and Irish rival Saunders meet in Ireland in a fight that would no doubt be huge in the country, but Saunders is hopeful that a Lee win over Quillin will make the fight that much bigger.

“Frank’s right in that the fight between me and Lee, if he defends his title against Quillin, will be a massive fight and needs to be held on the biggest stage and that’s a football stadium, the fight will only get bigger and bigger, so the timing needs to be right and it needs to wait until the summer.”

Lee (34-2, 24 KOs) won the vacant title with a sixth round knockout of Matt Korobov this past December, after Quillin (31-0, 22 KOs) relinquished the title to supposedly move on to bigger and better things – which curiously never materialized. The Quillin-Korobov fight was to have been promoted by Roc Nation Sports, which won the purse bid, and entitled Quillin to approximately $1.4 million, but bad blood between manager Al Haymon and Jay Z put the kibosh on that fight.

Quillin has remained on the sidelines since his previous title defense, but will likely get the fight with Lee on one of Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions card, according to ESPN, who also reports that a Quillin-Lee fight is a done deal.

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