Middleweight contender Andy Lee’s disappointment over a scheduled Madison Square Garden date falling through has proven to be short lived after he secured a place on the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night at The O2, Dublin on March 21st. Lee was set to top the bill at the famous New York venue on March 16th but despite that show falling through Lee’s training won’t go to waste with promoter Brian Peters adding him to an already star studded line-up at The O2 on Saturday week. The main event features Dublin’s own Bernard Dunne challenging for Ricardo Cordoba’s WBA Super Bantamweight title in the first World title fight on Irish soil in 13 years.
The undercard is just as exciting with Lee joining a line-up that already features unbeaten star Andy Murray in a European Union title fight and Jim Rock taking on Italian warrior, Alessio Furlan with prospects Michael Kelly and Anthony Fitzgerald also in action.
Lee says he was devastated by the news that the planned New York show had been scrapped. “When I got news the plug was pulled on my headliner fight at Madison Square Garden on March 16, I was bitterly disappointed, not just for myself but for all the other boxer’s on the card and all the people from home who had spent their money to travel to New York for the fight.
“After weeks of training, preparation and build up, to be told that it was all for nothing was a big let down. For me personally it was an opportunity to initiate and take forward my plans for 2009. I was physically and mentally prepared for the fight and it would have been the perfect comeback fight after my recent layoff.”
However Lee admits he’s now buzzing once again at the thought of his upcoming bout at The O2. “As one door closed, another door opened for me within 24 hours. Brian Peters Promotions stepped in to save the day after an initial phone call from my team. To be fighting on the undercard to Bernard Dunne in his quest to win a World Title in Dublin is a great honour for me. The Irish are the best sport supporters in the world, the atmosphere will be electrifying and it will be a memorable occasion with it being the first World Title fight in Ireland in 13 years.’
Lee hopes the fight can see him get back on the road to title contention following a lengthy lay off to recover from surgery to repair a cut eye suffered in his thrilling win over Willie Gibbs in Limerick last July.
“My plans for the rest of 2009 is to advance my career with developmental fights taking me to the next level of being in the top 10 of the World Ratings. Although my career is based in America, I relish the opportunity of fighting at home. But it’s fight one fight at a time and my focus is now firmly on March 21.”
Lee’s manager and legendary trainer Emanuel Steward says he’s looking forward to sampling the atmosphere at the new O2 in Dublin on a huge night for Irish Boxing. “The disappointment of the March 16 fight in New York soon evaporated when my good friend Brian Peters came into the picture,” said Steward.
“Brian is a very pragmatic guy always thinking on his feet. To put Andy on the card on this momentous night for Irish boxing was a wonderful gesture.”
Tickets for the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night are priced from €50 and are available now from Ticketmaster (phone 0818 719 300 or visit ticketmaster.ie). Tickets are also available from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.