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Andy Lee Says Saturday Fight Is For Emanuel Steward

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TSS checked in with fan fave, all around good dude Andy Lee, who gets what could well be his last, best shot at a major crown on Saturday, in Las Vegas, on a Top Rank show portions of which will run on HBO.

Lee will fight Matt Korobov, a Russian contender who turned pro in 2008, and the vacant WBO 160 pound crown will be up in the air.

I spoke to Lee, a pro since 2006, to get a sense of where his heard and heart and body are in the days leading up to the tussle.

Please tell me about camp, Andy. Where? Sparring? Talk to me.

“I’ve had an eight week camp for this fight,” said the 33-2 (23 KOs) hitter, who is promoted by the NYC stalwart, Lou Dibella. “Started with two weeks in London, five in Monaco and then the final week back in London. I sparred with some very good, young and up and coming fighters. John Ryder, Deion Jumah, Ryan Ashton and Cedric Vitu.”

Thoughts, please, on where you are in your career? Is this is a must win?

“This is the fight I’ve been preparing my whole life for,” said the man born in London, who grew up in Ireland. “I believe I hold my destiny in my own hands. Everything I’ve done has put me here and I’m ready to become the man I am!”

Lee last scrapped June 7, underneath the Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto tussle, and he scored a thriller KO in round five against John Jackson. He’s been building himself back up to a mental and physical place after being stopped in round seven by Julio Cesar Chavez in June 2012.

You’re fighting Matt Korobov (24-0 with 14 KOs; age 31). Your assessment please on his strengths and weaknesses, Andy.

“Korobov is a very good fighter, I know it won’t be easy,” the 30-year-old Lee stated. “He has fast hands and feet and is his technique is good. But I have everything I need to be victorious.”

The lefty Lee was super tight with the late Emanuel Steward, who acted as that, a steward, to the hearts and souls of many young men who received from him a trove of love and acceptance and structure. I asked Lee–Is this one for Emanuel?

“I will dedicate winning this fight to the memory of Emanuel,” Lee said. “I will make true the praise he placed upon me.”

Here is a release which went out on Lee’s trainer Adam Booth:

ADAM BOOTH: “I’M NOT HOPING THAT ANDY LEE WILL UPSET KOROBOV ON SATURDAY NIGHT, I’M FULLY EXPECTING IT.”

 

LONDON (10 Dec) – Adam Booth had huge stirrups to fill when he stepped into the trainer’s saddle for ex world middleweight challenger Andy Lee two years ago.

                  

The classy Limerick southpaw is clearly one of the most gifted Irish fighters of his generation. However, following two stoppage defeats, the 30 year old was in danger of becoming a talent unfulfilled.

 

Booth – feted for his work with David Haye and George Groves previously – is keen to prevent that happening as he leads the London born traveller into a second world title crack with Russia’s former crack amateur Matt Korobov in Las Vegas this weekend.

 

Boxing writer Glynn Evans tracked down the native south Londoner for a quick chat about Lee’s prospects, prior to his departure for the US.

 

How did your association with Andy come about?

I won him in a raffle, five tickets for a pound!

No, I got his number through an Irish contact of mine, Damien McCann. Damien also introduced me to Belfast’s Ryan Burnett who I’m also now training.

I was aware of who Andy was, knew he was a tall southpaw but didn’t really know much more than that. I’d not followed him closely.

 

What was your initial assessment of Andy? What were you impressed with?

Firstly, he was a very nice man, very easy going….unless you owe him any money!

You could tell that he was very experienced and that he’d been around the block. Having been managed and trained by Emanuel Steward for a long period, you knew he had pedigree.

To be honest, I didn’t know myself how I’d work with him because I’ve very limited experience of working with fighters of his style, tall southpaws. It was quite a challenge to me as a trainer and it took a good year for the changes to start to surface in the gymnasium and another six months before they became apparent in his fights. Initially the progress was steady, lately it’s been steep.

 

What changes did you feel it was necessary to import?

I needed to persuade Andy to stop boxing at just one height.  I needed to help make him less upright. I’ve tried to make him far more comfortable whilst fighting up close. Basically, I’ve worked on the many things that he could already do and tried to make it even better.

 

Lee made a big statement in his last fight, getting off the floor to iron out highly touted Virgin Islander John Jackson with a single counter right hook in round five. What aspects of that performance were you pleased with….and less pleased with?

 

Well, I certainly was not impressed with how he started. Despite lots of work in the gym, he forgot to move his head and paid the price for that against a very big hitter.

But after that I was very impressed. That was the first time that Andy had been off his feet, as a pro, in his long amateur career, or even in the gymnasium. Yet despite twisting his ankle as he fell, he just dusted himself down and responded very calmly. He carefully eased his way back into the fight.

John Jackson is a very dangerous man and he attacked relentlessly but Andy used all his experience to walk him onto a bomb. It was a very special finish but I always knew Andy had that in his locker. I’d seen a tape of him starching (ex WBA light-middleweight champion) Carl Daniels rigid with a very similar shot, earlier in his career.

 

Ideally, would you have preferred more time to work together, prior to entering a world title fight?

 

Not really, no. We’ve been working together for two years now and it’s all coming together very nicely in the gym, of late. I’d like to think he’s improved in all areas, technically and physically. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the timing for this fight couldn’t be better. I’d not swap a thing.

 

What is your assessment of Matt Korobov, the unbeaten Russian southpaw, who Andy confronts for the vacant WBO middleweight title in Las Vegas this Saturday?

 

I didn’t see too much of him in the amateurs but I’ve certainly been aware of him since he first turned pro. I’ve seen enough of him. I’m not about to publically analyse his strengths and weaknesses before I go into a fight against him. Ask me after the fight!

I know he was a very successful amateur, a former two time world champion and an Olympian but amateur boxing is amateur boxing. He’s not really shone as a professional yet but perhaps that’s because he’s not yet had the opponents that would enable him to advance his obvious talent to another level.

I’m not really sure how Korobov will approach the fight and I don’t really care about him. I just care about Andy Lee. Hopefully, I’ve prepared him for every eventuality. Let’s just say that, I don’t enter this fight hoping that Andy will cause an upset, I fully expect him to win.

 

The WBO have ordered the winner to fight Billy Joe Saunders, who at the end of last month won his eliminator against Chris Eubank Jnr.  Billy stepped aside to first allow Demetrius Andrade a shot and when he declined, Andy Lee stepped in. A victory for Lee would pave the way for a huge showdown with fellow traveller Saunders…

Whatever. I’m not remotely interested in discussing anything other than Matt Korobov on Saturday evening. That’s our only focus, right now.

 

To subscribe to BoxNation (Sky 437/490HD, Virgin 546, TalkTalk 525) for only £12 a month (plus registration fee) please visit www.boxnation.com.

 

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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