19 May 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Andy Lee claimed the NABF and NABA Middleweight titles defeating the experienced Alex Bunema via unanimous points decision in Rosemont, Illinois, in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The Limerick man boxed beautifully behind a solid jab and defeated the respected Technician with relative ease, winning every round on all three judges score cards. Bunema has mixed at the world level sharing the ring with the likes of Sergio Martinez and Jermain Taylor and as a result was deemed Lee stiffest test to date.
But the Kronks fighter passed his latest challenge with ease and proved the American based Congolese was a risk worth taking by adding the biggest name to his record in style. Lee was so dominant he did consider stopping his opponent and taking the short route to victory, but his corner advised against it.
When a guy comes to survive its very hard to knock him out. I wanted the knock out but my corner told me to be patient and felt I was boxing beautifully. I am happy to register win 26, Lee said after the fight.
The impressive reverse means the middleweight contender remains on course to avenge his sole career defeat suffered at the gloves of Brian Vera. The former Irish Olympian is set to face the much improved Texan on HBO in the autumn, but is looking for one more warm up bout in between. Lee wants to be out as early as next month, but a fight in Ireland against fellow middleweight Anthony Fitzgerald seems less likely by the day.
Meanwhile Western Warrior Henry Coyle registered a second round knock out win on the under card of the impressive show. Coyle stopped Keith Collins within two minutes 22 seconds of the second round. Elsewhere the first ever Irish native to win the prestigious Golden Gloves tournament, Thomas Hardwick makes his pro debut in New York tonight. The 25 year old Dubliner, who claimed the Heavyweight Novice prize in the American amateur contest enters the ring against Derek Walker in the Rosemount Ballroom.