The Irish Examiner understands the WBO are currently considering a proposal for Limerick star Lee to fight for the vacant belt and could be close to reaching a decision.
The title has been vacant since the previous champion, Peter Quillin, decided to relinquish his title rather than face Matvey Korobov, the unbeaten Russian who had been made the mandatory challenger.
That caused confusion over who would fight for the belt and the waters were further muddied when they received a petition from Demetrius Andrade, the organisation’s champion at the 154lb middleweight limit, to face Korobov.
As per the WBO’s standard procedure, it was confirmed that, as one of their current champions, Andrade’s petition had been successful, only for the American and his father to insist they had no intention of moving up in weight to fight Korobov.
That then opened the door for Billy Joe Saunders and his promoter Frank Warren to attempt to make the fight with Korobov, given the Englishman’s high ranking with the organisation. And that fight was mooted as a possible co-feature on the big Manchester bill topped by Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora’s grudge match in Manchester on November 29.
But now it appears Lee and his team, including promoter Lou DiBella and manager Adam Booth, are winning the race to secure a title shot — and it could be on home soil, with a suggested December showdown in Dublin.
Lee, who has been operating at the light-middleweight limit for his previous two fights, will have no problem moving back up to 160lbs to secure a world title shot, the second of his career after his defeat to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Texas in June 2012.
The 30-year-old, whose last fight ended in glory after a brutal knock-out of John Jackson in June, has not boxed in the capital since 2009.