12 February 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Andy Lee will impress his way to a WBC world middleweight title fight with Sergio Martinez by knocking out Craig McEwan on March 12, according to manager and legendary trainer Emanuel Steward.
Lee was touted as a possible challenger for the 160 pound divisions most noted punchers upcoming bout with Sergiy Dzinziruk , but HBO rebuffed the idea as they felt the Limerick native lacked the required box office draw.
Steward, however, is adamant the Irish southpaw will do the business inside the distance when he faces the Scot on the undercard of the Argentines next defence, to both increase his American profile and prove his worth as a challenger.
Hall of Famer, Steward, who has worked with over 41 world champions, is so intent that his fighter takes the short route to victory against the best opponent he has faced to date that they are training with a stoppage in mind.
The Kronk Gym founder believes Lee will seize his big opportunity and emerge from the crossroads fight on the world title path.
We dont want Andy just to win this fight. We want him to win impressively and with a knockout. I am training Andy to win this fight by knockout, Steward explained.
This is a great opportunity for Andy. There are no standout middleweights out there at present worthy of challenging a great champ like Martinez. Martinezs last win came via one of the best one punch knockouts ever seen. Andy has passed up the chance to challenge Pirog and Felix Strum to get into a position to challenge the best. The best way to ensure that is to get a knock out win on March 12. Do that and he will be the perfect challenger to fight a great fighter like Sergio Martinez, he added.
Lee, who has recently signed a promotional agreement with Lou Dibella, is determined to back up a reputation enhanced by Steward with a decent performance.
The former Olympian, who was initially pencilled in to fight fellow Irish fighter John Duddy before the Derry Destroyers retirement, is convinced he will emerge victorious from the Celtic War to ensure he upgrades from chief support to main event.
I think this will be a great fight. Craig is a skilful fighter with a similar style to me. He also is hungry like me. We are meeting at the crossroads. To the victor goes the spoils. One of us will move forward to the next level and the other will have to start over. I lost the last time I was on American TV and I will never let that happen again. I have a big reputation and a lot of people have heard about me and this is a great chance for me to prove myself. I believe I am ready for a World title shot. I think I am worthy of a shot and capable winning a title. I will prove that much on March 12.