Andy Lee: “My ultimate goal is to bring a world title back to Ireland and emulate my heroes”

by Geoffrey Ciani - This week’s 92nd edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with ranked middleweight contender Andy Lee (23-1, 17 KOs) who is coming off of an eighth round technical knockout victory against Michael Walker (19-5-2, 12 KOs). Lee is looking to get back in action almost immediately, and is scheduled to have a fight on October 2 at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammon, Indiana, possibly against Troy Lowry (27-10, 16 KOs). Lee is looking to stay busy and is hoping to land a title shot by March of next year. He spoke about his career and his future ambitions in boxing and also provided opinions and views on the current middleweight landscape. Here is what he had to say:

On how he is feeling following his eighth round technical knockout victory against Michael Walker last Friday:

“I’m feeling fine. Luckily I came through unscathed. There were no injuries or bumps or bruises. I’m not really even sore or nothing so I was happy about that, especially since now I have another fight lined up in two weeks, so I was glad to come through with no injuries.”

His evaluation of his performance in his victory against Michael Walker:

“I thought I did everything that needed to be done. He was very determined. I fought him in his hometown. I knew he was going to come out a lot stronger even than in all of these other fights. He was determined. All of his family was there and his friends were there and they were all cheering him on, so he wasn’t going to go out easy. He came and he was very determined. He kept coming every round. He never really took a backwards step, he just kept coming forward. So I just outboxed him and I caught him with some clean good shots. Eventually he started to slow down. I got a chance to get him out of there in the eighth round and I took it. So yeah, I thought it was a good performance by me. I did everything I had to do. I tied him up when I had to, and I boxed very smart when I had to, and I fought when I had to. So yeah, I was happy with it.”

On whether he has been working more on the uppercut and whether we can expect this to be a weapon we see more often from him in the future:

“Yeah, well I threw them. He was a lot shorter than me and he fought in a crouched style so the uppercut was good, but I worked on it. For this fight Emanuel Steward was training Wladimir in Austria, so for this whole fight I’ve trained with Sugar Hill. We worked on the uppercuts because Sugar Hill, he knew Michael Walker pretty good from his amateur days. He said, ‘The uppercuts going to work’. So we worked on it, yeah.”

On his improved body work in his fight with Walker and whether this is something he specifically worked on for this fight:

“Yeah, that’s something that we worked on as well because he keeps a high guard. He covers up almost like a European fighter where they cover up so high, like the German style, so the body was exposed. He was giving me the body so I was going to take it when I got the chance.”

On when he expects to be back in the ring:

“Well I’m scheduled to fight again October 2 in a couple of weeks in Hammond, Indiana at the Horseshoe Casino. I think they’ve got the opponent. I’m not sure if it’s set in, but they called me about a guy his name is Troy Lowry. I looked up his record. He looks like an experienced guy. He’s fought a lot of guys. He fought Yuri Foreman and fought Kid Chocolate and fought a lot of guys who are name fighters. He seems like a good opponent for me and another good learning fight.”

On whether he believes his recent activity will help him attain his goal of becoming middleweight champion:

“Yeah, I’m well ranked now and I could be getting a call any day for a title shot. So staying active is going stand for me for having all of these fights. When you’re doing something on a regular basis it becomes like second nature. When we’re in the dressing room, we just go through the routines. Everybody knows their jobs, everybody knows their roles. You make the weight, you eat the same foods, and it’s almost like a ritual. I love fighting. I like training, but it’s tough and the sparring is hard. If you can do the same sparring as you can do fighting, I might as well be fighting so that when I’m in the gym I can be getting paid for it, and building my record and getting experience.”

On which middleweight champion he would most like to face given the chance by March, which is when him and trainer/manager Emanuel Steward are hoping to land a title shot:

“I want to fight the best. I want to fight whoever—Martinez, Paul Williams, even Kelly Pavlik. Those to me are the top three guys in the division and I would like to fight any of them. They’re all good fighters, definitely good fighters and world champions. I would like to challenge the best. I want to be the best, so to be the best you got to beat the best. I would like to fight any of those guys.”

His views on the first fight between Martinez and Williams and what he thinks about their November 20 rematch:

“The first fight was a great fight for fight fans to watch. It was back and forth and there was a lot of action. It was a good fight and I think the second fight is going to be the same again. I think it’s going to be a close fight. It could go either way. I think you have two southpaws and Paul Williams is aggressive and throws a lot of punches, but Martinez is quick. It’s going to be a good fight. It’s going to be a close fight. It’s a hard one to pick a winner. I might see Martinez winning this one. If I had to pick, I would pick Martinez just winning it.”

On whether he has a preference for who will win the Martinez-Williams rematch if he were to get a chance to face the winner:

“No. We’re all southpaws. It’s funny, but unusual, but the three of us are southpaws. No, I don’t have a preference. Either of them will do. They’re the top two guys in the division right now and that’s deserved, but I’m a young guy and I’d like to challenge them but first I have to get in position to challenge them. So I’m staying busy, I’m building my record and hopefully moving up the rankings and like Emanuel said, maybe by March of next year I’ll be ready to challenge one of those guys.”

On whether he would be interested in a fight with one of the other champions (WBA Felix Sturm, IBF Sebastian Sylvester, WBO Dimitry Pirog) if he is unable to secure a fight with the Martinez-Williams winner and whether he has a preference as to which he would most like to face:

“No I don’t have a preference. I don’t fear any of them. They’re all good fighters. Pirog with winning his last fight with Jacobs, and Felix Sturm has been a champion for a long time and he’s proven himself on many occasions, but I don’t have a preference on which one I’d prefer to fight. I wouldn’t have any fear with any of them. I would welcome the chance to fight for a title with any of them.”

His views on Pirog’s impressive victory against Daniel Jacobs and whether he was surprised by Pirog’s dominance even though he was one of the people saying Pirog had a great chance before their fight:

“No, I wasn’t surprised. Like I told you and I was telling everybody, you can’t rest on this guy. I watched him on YouTube a lot. He has a slippery style. He slips punches well and then he punches and he fights inside and outside and he’s a very good boxer. I was very impressed with him. I wasn’t surprised that he beat Jacobs, but Jacobs can come again. That was a tough match for him because he’s so young and he really didn’t have a lot of experience like that. I know Pirog didn’t have a lot of experience, but it was a different style of fighter that he was facing. Jacobs will come back again. He’s a good fighter.”

On whether he would be willing to travel to Germany to face Felix Sturm, Sebestian Sylvester, or Sebastian Zbik for a chance at a title:

“Yeah, it’s tricky. Going over there to Germany, everyone knows the reputation that goes with it. You have reservations with the judges on whether or not you’ll get a fair shake. If you’re over there you really have to look to stop them or knock them out or be totally dominant. If an opportunity came where I got a chance to go over there and fight, I would definitely consider it, but it would depend on who the fight is and what the money is and which guy. You’d have to consider it if you ever got the chance, but you would have some reservations about the judging and stuff.”

On whether he would be interested in entering a Super Six style tournament in the middleweight division if such an opportunity arose:

“Yeah, I would. I definitely would. I thought the Super Six was a great idea. The fights were brilliant, but I think it’s been too long in between the fights, but yeah I would like to fight in one. If there was ever a chance for a middleweight one, I would like to get in.”

On what format he believes would work best if there was some type of middleweight tournament set up:

“It’s hard to know. Boxing is a difficult sport. It’s not like football where you have a regular thing and everyone is fighting, but there shouldn’t be more than three or four months in between fights and the fights should be held. Everybody should know where they are fighting and that should already be determined. It just needs more structure, that’s all. It’s a good thing and it’s a good idea and it’s good for boxing. Hopefully this current one will finish up.”

On whether he would be interested in getting in the ring with fellow Irishman John Duddy, possibly in New York this December:

“Yeah, I think that fight’s definitely a possibility that could be becoming a reality that could happen. In fact, Emanuel has been talking with Duddy’s people and they’ve been going back and forth. I think Duddy is well up for the fight, and I would like the fight, too. It would be a good fight for me. He’s a good name and a good fighter, and it would be a good platform for me especially here in America. If I won the fight, I could move on to bigger fights say like a Matrinez or a Williams. Yeah, I would like the fight. Hopefully it gets made. I think it’s an attractive fight for a lot of reasons. It’s good styles, a fighter versus a boxer, two Irish guys, and a big rivalry in New York with all of our fans. They’re always going back and forth. So yeah, it would be a good fight. I hope it gets made.”

On whether he would be interested in possibly fighting Kelly Pavlik on the Pacquiao-Margarito under card November 13, give the fact that Pavlik’s original opponent has reportedly pulled out of the fight:

“If I got the call I would take the fight, definitely. Pavlik was obviously champion for a few years. I watched him and studied him well. He’s a big strong middleweight, but I think I’m technically better. Yeah, if I got the chance and I got the call I would take that fight. I would like that fight.”

On how many fights he believes he will need before he is given a title shot:

“I don’t know. I’m staying busy and I’m staying ready, so when the call does come I’ll be well prepared for it, but I think I need a signature fight. Like if this fight with John Duddy does come off, that would be a good platform for me, and then I’ll fight another top ten contender like him and then I’ll be ready.”

His views on whether he has improved as a fighter since suffering his only career loss at the hands of Brian Vera:

“Yeah, definitely. It could be the making of me in the end, because I was very young when I was fighting. I was very naďve and that’s how I fought back then and it worked against me, but since then I’ve matured and I’ve grown. Mentally I’m tougher and stronger and fighting with a lot more maturity. Like even this past fight with Michael Walker, had I fought him back then he would have likely beaten me because he was very tough and determined. I’m maturing, I’m getting stronger, and all I really need is to get my rounds up and fight more top rated top level guys, and I will be ready for a title. That’s how I see it.”

On how much it would mean to him to win a middleweight title and bring the belt back to Ireland:

“That’s my dream. That is what I signed up for in 2006 when I turned pro. I left my home and promised I’d come back with a world championship, and that’s my dream. That’s what I think about when I go on long runs in the morning and that’s what I think about when I’m training and fighting. My ultimate goal is to bring a world title back to Ireland and emulate my heroes, and that’s what I want to do.”

On whether he would ever be interested in a fight against European champion Matthew Macklin:

“Yeah, this is a fight that I think is going to happen. It’s been thrown around there and I think sometime next year. We both want to move onward and upward and we would both like to fight for world titles at some stage soon in the next year. But obviously both being Irish and both being middleweights, like John Duddy, people have been throwing our names together for a long time and I think it’s going to happen. I think it’s getting closer to happening. I think it’s going to be a good fight when it does happen because he’s a good fighter. Yeah, we’ll see. I’m definitely open to the fight and I think it could happen next year.”

On what he would like to say to all of his fans and the listeners of On the Ropes Boxing Radio:

“Thank you for the good comments on East Side Boxing and thanks for all the support. Come see me fight and see all of the improvements since the Vera fight. You’ll see that was just a mistake and that I’m improving and I’m getting better and stronger, and onwards and upwards.”


For those interested in listening to the Andy Lee interview in its entirety, it begins right at the beginning of the program.


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Article posted on 22.09.2010

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