ANDY Lee’s stock has always been high among boxing fans World wide. The WBO middleweight champion of the World has been a recognisable name since his early days with the late great Emanuel Steward at the Kronk Gym.
The Limerick man worked his way to World title contention unsuccessfully challenging Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr for the WBC 160 pound strap back in 2012. Since that reverse the 30 year old has been a regular in the list of potential World title challengers. Lee eventually buckled a belt around his waste by stopping the avoided Matt Korobov in Las Vegas in December.
However, it’s victory over challenger Peter Quillin in New York that could on April 11 that could see Lee become one of the most recognisable fighters on the planet.
Lee claims beating ‘Kid Chocolate’ in the first defence of his WBO strap will make him a global star. The Adam Booth trained fighter explains that is one of the main reasons he took the fight ahead of a homecoming against less prestigious opposition.
“Hopefully if this fight goes well then afterwards that homecoming fight could happen,” Lee told the Examiner.
“But this opportunity, financially it was a very good decision to me but also for boxing reasons. Beating Quillin will catapult me – make me into one of the stars of boxing.
“I could’ve fought in Ireland, chosen the opponent and beaten someone comfortably. But if I fight and beat Peter in New York I will be a global star. People will need to acknowledge what I’ve been doing. It’s a great opportunity to fight in America, on national TV and it takes me to the next level.
“If I had fought in Ireland it would’ve been a good thing of course and it still will be one day. But you don’t know how long your career will be and I had to take it and I have no regrets.”
Lee has been training for the clash with the former WBO champ in Monaco and also reflected on his camp in the south of France.
“Since my last fight I’ve been back in the gym since January 12. I didn’t take much time off over Christmas. I came right back and continued working on the same things since before the Korobov fight.
“I’m in good shape and I’m being pushed very hard. We’re here in France and its a beautiful place. The sun is shining and you’re looking into the ocean. It’s a great motivator when you go to the gym.”