Lee sets sights on world title fight

LIMERICK pro-boxer Andy Lee will be back in the ring on March 17.

LIMERICK pro-boxer Andy Lee will be back in the ring on March 17.

While no opponent is confirmed for the bout in New York’s MSG Theater, the Castleconnell man is making no secret of his desire to fight for a world title in 2012.

Lee’s fight will be broadcast live on HBO and will be on the undercard to Sergio Martinez’s defence of his WBC belt against Matthew Macklin.

There are a number of world middleweight title contests planned for 2012 and Lee aims to fight one of the winners - Julio Cesar Chavez Jr defends his WBC belt against Marco Antonio Rubio on February 4, Daniel Geale defends his IBF belt against a yet to be named opponent on March 7 and Sergio Martinez is due to defend his WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine belts against Matthew Macklin on March 17.

“I am 28 this June with nearly 30 fights under my belt; I have grown as a fighter and I am now ready and prepared to challenge for and win a world title. It is every boxer’s ambition to be a world champion and I believe this is my year,” the former St Francis Boxing Club Olympian said this week.

“I have positioned myself nicely in the world ratings as a legitimate world title contender. In boxing what you want, what you deserve and what you get are all different things. Boxing is a business as well as a sport and sometimes things come down to timing and being in the right place at the right time. I believe I am at that juncture in my career and I am more than ready for a title shot.”

The Limerick man last fought in October when he avenged his only pro defeat to Brian Vera.

“After my fight on March 17, I want to move up the WBC ratings and capture the No1 spot as the mandatory challenger to the WBC title. I would relish the opportunity to fight Martinez, Chavez Jr, Rubio, Macklin or Geale in a championship fight. I have the skills and power to beat any of them,” vowed Lee, who has suffered disappointments regarding potential world title fights in recent years.

Lee has been pursuing his world title dream from when he first laced up a pair of gloves at the age of 11 in 1995. He had a very successful amateur career winning a host of Irish titles, multi-nation tournaments, a silver medal in the world U-19s in 2002 and a European senior bronze in 2003.

In January 2006, at the age of 21 he departed Limerick for Detroit to join Eamanuel Steward in his renowned Kronk Boxing Gym.

“Andy is presently the most prominent and visible middleweight contender resident in the United States at this time; it makes good sporting and business sense for the television executives, promoters and sanctioning bodies to stage an Andy Lee world title fight in 2012,” said Steward.