Andy ‘Irish’ Lee (28-1, 20KO’s) is a fighter on a mission as he prepares to challenge unbeaten middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (45-0-1, 31 KO’s) for his WBC championship green belt on June 16 at the outdoor Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas. The tall 6’2 Kronk fighter has just completed a 10 week training camp in preparation for his world title bout and is looking in great condition and extremely sharp in sparring. Lee has been trading punches at the Detroit Kronk Gym with aggressive sparring partners such as Mike Jimenez, Adonis Stevenson, Edwin Rodriguez, Don George and Brian Vera.
Lee presently ranked WBO #1, WBA #2 and WBC #3 is in the best shape of his life and is in a positive and confident mood with only two things on his mind going into this fight; winning and winning impressively. He believes he has the boxing skills and power to beat Chavez Jr. and is very focused on the job he has to do.
Lee’s legendary manager and trainer, Emanuel Steward, commented, “Preparations for the fight could not have been any better; Andy is a very disciplined and determined fighter and he is physically and mentally prepared for the biggest fight of his career to date.
“We have prepared for every possible scenario in the fight against a young, strong and resolute undefeated champion. However Chavez Jr. has never fought a fighter like Andy Lee and the champion is going to realize that on fight night.
“Atthe age of 28, Andy is in the prime of his life. He is a big middleweight, a southpaw, has vast experience, as an amateur and professional, can box on the outside and fight at close quarters and has the power to take a fighter out with either hand.
“Andy’s time has arrived, he has trained his entire life for this moment and he is now ready to become the new WBC middleweight champion. Andy is a fighter on a mission and with the frame of mind he has had in the gym during camp I believe he can knock Chavez Jr. out.”
Assistant Kronk coaches Javan “Sugar” Hill and Roger Lee have been supporting Emanuel Steward prepare Lee for the fight and there is a great team spirit and camaraderie in the camp.
The Irishman realizes he will be fighting Chavez Jr. in front of a strong Mexican partisan crowd in El Paso, estimated to be over 40,000, next door to Mexico. But he also realizes that there will only be two fighters in the ring and when Lee unleashes one of his strong, devastating right hooks or straight left power shots, the whole of Mexico will not be able to help the champion.
Team Lee believes Chavez Jr. has all the stress and pressure of the world on his shoulders coming into the fight. In recent fights, the champion has struggled to make weight and in this fight he has to step up in class to box a strong rangy southpaw for the first time. Furthermore, Lee is taller than Chavez Jr. and the champion will not be able to utilize his height and weight advantages that he used in title defenses with fighters like Rubio and Manfredo Jr.
Lee is no stranger to fighting away from home with only seven of his 29 fights taking place in Ireland. He has established himself as an Irish Kronk fighter in America from his pro debut at the Joe Louis Arena, Detroit on March 10, 2006.
Lee is a fighter that came to the United States with a strong amateur pedigree, becoming a 2004 Athens Olympian and 2002 World Junior Silver Medalist. He travelled the world as an amateur to compete in numerous multi-nation tournaments and championships.
The Irishman has learned his trade from mentor Emanuel Steward at the world renowned Detroit Kronk Gym and at the training camps of world champions such as Wladimir Klitschko, Miguel Cotto and Jermain Taylor. He has fought in major events on HBO Boxing, headlined his own shows in Ireland and in the United States.
The last six years have been a valuable education that has molded Andy Lee as a fighter and added many strings to his bow. With 29 fights under his belt and ranked in the top three of the four main sanctioning bodies, the Irishman has never been more ready to challenge for a world title.
A relaxed and confident Lee speaking after a tough training session commented, “I relish this opportunity to fight for and win the WBC middleweight title; I have never been more ready to win the title. I am totally focused on the fight and I’m ready to care of business come fight night.
“I am not going to El Paso to make up the numbers on the card; believe me this is the pinnacle of a lifetime’s work and the opportunity is not going to pass me by. I’m going to win the title.
“Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has been a proud champion and has kept himself busy in the last 12 months since winning the title, but I will be too strong and have too much ring craft for him. I will be the fighter who will leaving town as the new champion, this is my date with destiny.”
This is the first time since Oscar De La Hoya beat Patrick Charpentier by TKO in round three on June 13, 1998, that a world boxing championship bout has been staged in El Paso. City officials are hoping the sporting festival weekend will promote the city and reap an economic return in the future.
Team Lee and the Irish fans are looking forward to arriving in El Paso and being part of the occasion and enjoying the carnival atmosphere.