14 May 2010 – By Steve Wellings
Andy Lee returns to Limerick on Saturday, May 15 as the local hero shapes up for an assault on major titles.
Dangerous French puncher Mamadou Thiam provides the opposition and southpaw Lee will need to be 100 per cent focused as he aims to defuse the banger.
Thiam (originally from Senegal) has enjoyed a high-quality career, meeting the likes of Felix Trinidad, Santiago Samaniego and Sergey Dzinziruk along the way to amassing a 46-8 record. The fact that 43 of Mamadous wins have come by knockout and seven of his eight losses by stoppage, indicate a vulnerable puncher – which means he or Lee could end up tasting the canvas on fight night.
Thiams manager, Croatian Mirko Skoko, only sees one winner in Limerick, Mamadou is one of the biggest punchers in boxing and his record backs that up, he stated.
For Mamadou it doesn’t matter if the fight is in Paris or in Lee’s home town because when his big punches land there will be no need for the judges.
Thiam is equally as enthusiastic. Of course I am predicting a knockout, that is what I do for a living, said the former European champion.
Some people sell cars, some people build houses, some people drive buses, I knock people out. I suppose I’m like a dentist because we both take teeth out for a living!
Lee overcame a tricky final two rounds in his last fight, with Affif Belghecham, after dominating the negative visitor for the previous eight. The 25-year-old no doubt holds the skills to outbox Thiam and contain the rugged Frenchman as Mama attempts to land the money-shot.
If Andy can get past Thiam then I believe that his next fight should be for the European title and I’d be very confident of bringing that fight to Limerick, revealed promoter Brian Peters, when discussing current Euro king Darren Barker.
The European title would be a realistic next step for Andy and with Barkers promoter Mick Hennessy no longer enjoying regular TV exposure it is conceivable that the clash may take place in Limerick.
For now, Lee cannot afford to overlook the threat posed by Thiam -who has won his last four bouts by KO – or title dreams would be out of the window. I believe Lee can use his jab and movement to keep Thiam at bay, before setting him up for the big punches as the fight nears its conclusion. Lee can beat the resistance out of Mamadou for a late stoppage, but must stay clear of Thiams heavy arsenal.