ANDY Lee has vowed to defend his WBO world title in Ireland.
While all on Shannonside will hope for Thomond Park or even the Gaelic Grounds, the 3Arena in Dublin would appear best positioned to host Lee’s next fight.
“It’s gotta be in Ireland - that’s the biggest sell and the biggest possible arena for it,” said the newly crowned world champion.
The 30-year-old Castleconnell man returns to Limerick inside the next 24 hours and wants to reward his loyal fan base with a world title fight.
“I am the champ and I am not going outside of Ireland,” he vowed.
“I am a champion and I want to defend my belt in Ireland and I will fight the best in the world,” he added.
The former St Francis Boxing Club Olympian added: “I am very proud to be a champion from Ireland.”
The mandatory challenge for the WBO belt is England’s Billy Joe Saunders.
“I will fight anybody - I fear no one. If he wants to fight me, he can come to me,” said Lee of Saunders.
“If he wants to come to Ireland he is welcome to - my first defence will be in Ireland and I am looking forward to it.”
Another option is a unifying bout against Gennady Golovkin - the reigning WBA and IBO middleweight champion.
“I have no fear of him - he is the best middleweight in the world and rightly so but how would he hold up if he got hit with that right hook, we don’t know!”
“He will have to respect my power,” said Lee with a broad smile.
“It was always my dream to step off the plane in Shannon Airport with the belt - this championship is for me, for my family second and for my country third,” said Lee, who dedicated it to the late Emanuel Steward and Adam Booth.
“I am looking forward to seeing all the family - my brothers, my dad, my mam and all the Lee’s will be happy. I can’t wait to get home - it’s going to be a good Christmas.”