ANDY Lee returns to the ring this Saturday to end 15-months outside the ropes.
Limerick’s former WBO middleweight champion faces American KeAndrae Leatherwood in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The 32 year old Castleconnell boxer’s return is on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin v Danny Jacobs.
“I’m very pleased to be making my return on such a big event,” said Lee, who will be boxing at Madison Square Garden for the third time.
“After taking a year out, I’m back. I feel refreshed and hungrier than ever,” promised Lee.
“My goal is to eventually challenge the winner of GGG and Jacobs. March 18 will be the first step on that journey,” said Lee.
“I’m also very happy to be fighting in Madison Square Garden again, the scene of some of my greatest victories. I’m sure the Irish boxing fans will turn out and I look forward to putting on a world-class performance.”
The last time the Limerick southpaw fought at Madison Square Garden, he floored John Jackson with a fifth-round knockout in June 2014 on the Miguel Cotto-Sergio Martinez undercard.
Lee’s opponent KeAndrae Leatherwood has also faced Jackson – he was also stopped by Jackson in 2011.
Lee hasn’t boxed since his December 2015 title loss to Billy Joe Saunders in Manchester – the break his longest since turning professional over a decade ago.
While Lee is approaching the 11th anniversary of the first of his 38 professional bouts, his 28 year old opponent for March has fought 23 times with three defeats. Lee didn’t fight at all in 2016, while Leatherwood won all four of his bouts, albeit none against top opponents.
Lee will be fighting a day after Irish Olympian Michael Conlan makes his professional debut at Madison Square Garden on St Patricks Day.