12 June 2008 – by Mark Doyle
Andy Lee insists that he has put the shock and disappointment of losing his proud unbeaten record behind him and is promising to get his career back on track with a win over Willie Gibbs.
Lee was stopped in somewhat controversial circumstances by former Contender star Brian Vera in March and that immediately prompted some pundits to claim that the Limerick native was not as good as he was being made out to be.
However, Lee insists that his self-belief has not been affected by the criticism and the jibes and is confident of returning to the ring with a win over Gibbs in his hometown next month.
Theres no real point dressing it up and put a positive spin on the Vera fight, admitted Lee.
It was very disappointing but Im ready to move on now, he declared. People have said that the defeat might lower expectations and take some weight off my shoulders but I didnt have a problem with that weight because nobodys expectations were any higher than my own.
Ive taken some positives from it, though, I definitely learned a few things from that fight so Im keen to move on now and put it behind me.
Im really looking forward to the Gibbs fight because hes very highly regarded. Hes only lost to the best so he has to be respected and a good win over him will get me right back on track again.
However, Lee revealed that his first preference was for another crack at Vera.
We spoke to his people about a rematch but they werent interested. Maybe its something that can happen later on because thats something I really want to put right but for now Im just focusing on Willie Gibbs and getting a big win in Limerick.
And Lee is certainly pulling out all the stops for the bout as he is currently sparring with Wladimir Klitschko in Austria ahead of the heavyweight champions IBF title defence against Tony Thompson next month.
I only got out there at the weekend but Ive already done some sparring with Wladimir because hes fighting a southpaw, he explained.
Its a great experience because sparring him really helps with my strength and conditioning while he uses the sessions for speed work.
The camp is in a great setting at the foot of the Alps so its the perfect place to prepare for the fight.