Andy Lee (34 W- 2L 1 D, 24KOs), WBO Middleweight Champion, is a fighter primed and ready to defend his world title against Billy Joe Saunders (22W, 12 KOs), the #1 WBO mandatory and undefeated challenger.
The world title bout takes place this Saturday evening (December 19) at the Manchester Arena, Manchester, England in a boxing Christmas extravaganza that will be televised live by both BoxNation in the UK / Ireland and by Showtime cable network in the United States.
The domestic dust-up has all the ingredients to captivate boxing fans with two genuine world class fighters entering the ring to put on a show and perform to the best of their ability at the highest level of the sport.
The tall and rangy 6’2’’ Andy Lee is in the final stages of his preparations for his world title defence and is looking in great condition and extremely sharp in sparring.
The Irishman is in the best shape of his life and relishes the opportunity to box in the same city as his favourite football team, Manchester United and he has visited the Old Trafford Stadium on numerous occasions.
Lee’s trainer, Adam Booth commented ‘We have prepared for the best of Billy Joe Saunders; he had a successful amateur career and is undefeated as a pro. However, Andy is a big middleweight and comes into the ring with vast experience as an amateur and professional.’
‘Andy has the skill set to beat Billy Joe; he can box on the outside, fight at close quarters and has the power to take a fighter out with either hand.’
With the fight only days away Irish fans are makings plans to travel for the fight to support their boxing hero in what will be the last major boxing event of the year in the UK.
All is at stake in the fight, the WBO title belt is on the line and the opportunity of lucrative fights in the US against fighters such as Canelo Alvarez, Gennedy Golovkin and Danny Jacobs in 2016.
For now Lee is not looking past the business at hand and knows he has a job to do on Saturday night. The former Detroit Kronk fighter commented ‘Preparations for the fight could not have been any better; I ’m at my best and physically and mentally prepared for this fight.’
‘The fans are going to be in for a treat; I am in a good frame of mind, I am the Champion, I have the title and the pressure is all on Billy Joe to try and take it off me and that’s not going to happen.’
‘The talk and predictions about the fight will end when the first bell rings, I am primed for battle and have all the tools in my arsenal to win the fight and I intend to use them on Saturday night. My total focus is on winning and nothing else.’
It is 10 years to the day (December 15, 2005) that Andy Lee signed a management agreement to turn professional with legendary boxing trainer and manager Emanuel Steward.
A young 21 year old Lee left the comfort zone of Irish amateur boxing and his home in the village of Castleconnell, Ireland to take a chance of a lifetime opportunity and venture into the unknown to live with Emanuel Steward in Detroit City and pursue a professional boxing career.
It is not every day that a trainer with the stature of Steward comes along offering a kid from Ireland the opportunity to go to America to be managed and trained by him. Steward had great belief and vision for his young Irish protégé that one day Andy Lee would become a world champion.
Lee served his apprenticeship and learnt his craft at the famous Kronk Gym in Detroit, under the personal guidance and direction of Emanuel Steward until his passing on October 25, 2012.
Lee then relocated to London and teamed up with another world class trainer and manager, Adam Booth. Both trainer and fighter bonded, and Adam set about making adjustments to Lee’s game enhancing his boxing skills and ability both mentally and physically.
On December 13, 2014, in Las Vegas the hard work of both men paid off, the former Athens 2004 Olympian realized his boyhood dream by beating Matt Korbov to win the WBO middleweight title, the fruits of the Irishman’s labour and dedication had finally paid off.
Lee won the title in style, by offloading a ferocious right hook in round six which stunned Korobov to his boots, sensing blood Lee moved in and unleashed a barrage of heavy punches forcing referee Kenny Bayless to stop the fight at 1.10 into the round.
John Wooden, a famous and successful US basketball coach once said, ‘ Success is piece of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing that you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.’
Lee has the self-confidence from his many accomplishments and will be looking to continue his successful career with another impressive performance in his fight against Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday night. He has the character, experience, talent and power to deliver.