England's Billy Joe Saunders outpointed champion Andy Lee to secure the WBO middleweight title in Manchester.

Saunders floored the Irishman twice with right hooks in the third and Lee rarely employed his vaunted left cross.

Saunders, 26, Britain's 12th world champion, won by majority decision, the judges scoring it 115-111, 114-112 and 113-113 in the challenger's favour.

Liverpool's Liam Smith retained his WBO light-middleweight title earlier with a seventh-round stoppage of Jimmy Kelly.

While some might have expected a contest between two Travellers - Lee is an Irish Traveller, Saunders from the Romany Traveller community - to be an all-out war, Saunders and Lee actually have plenty of boxing pedigree.

The 31-year-old Lee, a cousin of world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, boxed for Ireland at the 2004 Olympics and vowed to win the bout by boxing rather than brawling. Saunders boxed for Great Britain at the 2008 Olympics.

Saunders looked the sharper of the two in the opening two rounds, establishing his right jab and landing with a couple of flashing right hooks.