Andy Lee after beating Matt Korobov to win the WBO Middleweight title in 2014
LIMERICK’S sporting icon Andy Lee has confirmed his retirement from professional boxing.
The 33 year old Castleconnell man confirmed his plans to leave the ring this Tuesday evening.
In the early hours of Sunday, December 14 in 2014, Lee ensured his place in Limerick sporting history when beat unbeaten Russian Matt Korobov to claim the WBO world middleweight title.
“It’s time now. It’s the right time now," Andy Lee told Off The Ball, confirming his decision.
"I'm 33 years old. I’ve achieved everything I want in the game. Its been on my mind for a while. I kept myself available to see what my options were, if a fight came along that enticed me back. None of the offers were good enough or big enough to go back. I’ve a responsibility now as a father. To leave my wife and daughter to go away from them to a training camp would take a big offer,” outlined Lee.
“I took a decision to take some time off, obviously, then we had a baby that has been the best thing and that’s my priority right now.”
Andy Lee departs with a record of 35 wins with (24KOs), 3 losses and one draw.
The Limerick hero was born the fourth of six children to Tom and Ann Lee on June 11, 1984 in Bow in East London.
Andy followed his older brothers into Repton Boxing Club at a young age and within four years of his debut fight, he was a UK national champion after an intermediate 63kg success over a Mathew Kennedy of Sunderland in the England Schoolboy finals in Barnsley.
Andy’s parents had moved from Limerick city to London after they were married in the early 70s but In the summer of 1998, the Lee family returned to Limerick and set up home close to Daly’s Cross in Castleconnell.
It wasn’t long before a 14-year-old Andy was a member of St Francis Boxing Club on Mungret Street in the city.
Lee first came to prominence in Ireland during the 2002 AIBA World Junior Championships in Santiago de Cuba, where he won silver.
As one of the first members of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association’s high performance unit and guiding by St Francis BC coaches Ken Moore and Finbarr O’Brien, Lee was the only Irish boxer in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
After an amateur career that brought a world junior silver medal, a European bronze, three national senior titles and an Olympic Games appearance, in December 2005 Andy signed professional contracts with famed US boxing coach Emanuel Steward.
Andy’s professional debut came on March 10, 2006, in the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. In the first of the 36 fights that led him to be world champion, Lee defeated Anthony Cannon.
Fourteen wins later, including a memorable March 2007 KO of Carl Daniels, Andy Lee returned for a professional bout in Limerick. The date was February 2, 2008 and the local hero duly thrilled his home fans with a fifth round knockout win over Alejandro Gustavo Falliga in UL.
There were twists and turns aplenty before Lee was crowned champion of the world.
His only successful title defence came against Peter Quillin, with the fight ending in a draw. However, Quillin failed to make weight in the pre-fight weigh-in, meaning that he was ineligible to take the title regardless of the result.
Lee lost the belt to Billy Joe Saunders in his next fight in 2015, one that was originally due to take place in Thomond Park, but was postponed and the pair eventually met in Manchester.