Limerick’s Andy Lee delivers knockout blow

Jerome O’Connell


Jerome O’Connell

A SENSATIONAL final round knockout has maintained Andy Lee’s charge towards a world title fight.

A SENSATIONAL final round knockout has maintained Andy Lee’s charge towards a world title fight.

A SENSATIONAL final round knockout has maintained Andy Lee’s charge towards a world title fight.

The Limerick pro-boxer scored his 25th professional victory in the early hours of Sunday morning when recovering from a sluggish start to knock out Craig McEwan in the tenth round at the MGM Grand Arena at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in the US.

Lee’s 10th successive victory came as chief support fight on the undercard of Sergio Matinez’s defence of his world middlweight title.

It was hoped that a Lee victory could line-up an immediate world title fight against Martinez, but it appears that the Castleconnell man will have to be patient.

“I want a title fight or to avenge my loss to Vera,” Lee said after his weekend victory.

Since moving from St Francis Boxing Club in Limerick to sign pro-terms with Detriot’s Emanuel Steward in the Kronk Gym, Lee has suffered just one loss.

That surprise defeat to Brian Vera still hurts the Lee camp and it now appears that a rematch could be on the cards.

Earlier this month Lee signed a new three year deal with promoter, Lou DiBella. He ruled out a clash against Martinez.

“McEwan put on one of the gutsiest performances. He was leading after eight rounds and Lee had to do something dramatic. I’m proud of Andy Lee’s performance. I’ll talk next week with Manny (Stewart, Lee’s manager/trainer). It won’t be Sergio (for Andy) the next fight. This made Andy an HBO fighter,” said DiBella.

Lee was sluggish for much of his weekend fight, but eventually came good.

Two judges had the fight 85-85 going to the final round while the third judge had McEwan ahead 86-84.

‘I was down, I was getting outboxed, I needed a knockout, or at least a knockdown in the 10th round.

“Overall, I wasn’t happy with my performance. I hurt him early in the fight and I think that worked against me.

“I loaded up too much. I got into that habit and it was tough to get out.

“In the middle rounds I thought I was losing the fight. It was a big opportunity so I said to myself if I’m going to lose he’s going to have to kill me,” explained the Limerick man.

“Basically I was flat-footed until I switched it up. Eventually I caught him at the end.

“I was fortunate but I deserved it. I don’t know what round it was but something inside me said I was going to take it.

“He boxed very good. It was hard; we’re friends. I respected him before the fight and more now,” said Lee.

“I won the ninth, 10-8, but knew I needed a big finish and not leave it to the judges.

“One, two – he was on the ground. It wasn’t my best performance but it was a great victory.

“It was a hard fought fight. I showed courage and heart. I will get better.”

Lee continued: “He was throwing a lot of punches. He caught me relaxing and he stunned me. I’m not that happy.

“I don’t feel too good. I like to dominate. I had to dig deep.

“I didn’t have my legs. I went back to the street. That’s how we fight at Kronk.”