ANDY LEE and Billy Joe Saunders clash on December 19 in Manchester for the former’s WBO middleweight title – the first time two men from a travelling background have contested a world boxing belt. Ahead of that, both men have highlighted the impact on the travelling community of the recent world heavyweight title win for self-styled “Gypsy king” Tyson Fury over Wladimir Klitschko.

Andy Lee: “Tyson becoming the heavyweight champion has so many good implications for boxing as a whole. It was an incredible performance against all odds. Growing up, most travelling boys box but drift away from the sport when they get older. Tyson Fury, Billy Joe Saunders and myself, our success will inspire Gypsies and traveller children all over the world and show them what they can achieve in boxing.”

Billy Joe Saunders: “Tyson Fury won the heavyweight world title, he made history, it’s never been done before by a traveller. I’m out in Marbella [training for Lee] but I’ve spoken to my mates and seen loads of winning betting slips. His victory is definitely an inspiration, not only for the travelling community but for the full world to see. In my view that was a bigger upset than if Floyd Mayweather had lost. Klitschko was the prize possession of boxing, the heavyweight they thought nobody could beat. They didn’t give Tyson Fury a chance but he is young, fresh and confident. He went into the lion’s den and got Klitschko so frustrated he tried to headbutt him. People should give him credit where it’s due, not try to run down his performance.”