The Limerick fighter is training fellow southpaw Eric Donovan [5(3)-0] for the Athy man’s BUI Celtic featherweight title defence this Saturday against Juancho Gonzalez.
‘Lilywhite Lightning’ headlines the Celtic Clash 4 card at the National Stadium in Dublin, and Lee will be in the corner.
With Donovan’s longtime coach Dom O’Rourke being forced to step back after being elected IABA President, Lee has stepped in for this fight in what could potentially become a permanent relationship.
The pair have been training three or four times a week at Cathal O’Grady’s gym at Harold’s Cross as well as travelling around for sparring.
As a pro, Lee originally trained at Manny Steward’s famous Kronk Gym in Detroit, before moving to Adam Booth in London following Steward’s passing.
When asked if his coaching style is a mesh of the approaches of these two trainers, Lee replies “definitely.”
“You couldn’t learn from two better coaches. They’re my biggest influences.”
The Athens Olympian had an especially close relationship with Steward, living with the coach in Motor City for years.
In this time, Lee absorbed plenty, and picked up plenty of tricks which he is now imparting onto Donovan.
These details are small, and Lee points out how “he’s wearing cocoa butter rather than vaseline, that’s Emanuel Steward.
“Vaseline is petroleum, it’s a chemical. The skin doesn’t absorb it. Cocoa butter does absorb into the skin, it’s more natural, it’s a lubricant as well – and there’s a nice smell off it.”
From something small to something big, Lee’s famous southpaw right hook is another weapon that he hopes Donovan can emulate, and he revealed how “we’ve been drilling his right hook, he’s got a good right hook.”
“He’s got a good left hand. The longer we’ll work together the better he’ll get.”
“He needs to fight more with a professional style but not change what he does and what makes him good. He’s a good southpaw, a boxer, and I’m not going to try make him a fighter. Just more emphasis on power, head movement, and defence.”
The two have trained together intermittently since Donovan turned pro last year, with this camp being the first with any sort of regularity.
Lee is wary of trying to do too much, too soon, and reasoned how “this is only four-five weeks. For me to come in and try to change his technique would be too much, he’d end up getting caught between two different ways and end up doing nothing.”
“The more I work with him, the more I’m impressed. He’s only touched on what he’s capable.”
Photo Credit: Sharon Flanagan