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12 fights that shaped Andy Lee's career

This is how champions are made.

TONIGHT, LIMERICK’S Andy Lee takes to the ring to face Peter Quillin in New York.

However, the fight won”t now be a title fight after the American fighter failed to make weight at the weigh-ins on Friday evening and regardless of the result, Lee will retain his WBO Middleweight belt.

It has been a long hard road for Lee to get to this exact point on Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue. Since turning pro in 2006 he has seen 36 bouts with just two defeats. Here’s a few stand-out moments in Lee’s journey from Olympian to champion of the world via headlines and undercards in Detroit, Memphis, Miami, Cologne, Limerick, Dublin and Las Vegas.

Round 1: Up and running in Motor City

Two years after being Ireland’s sole boxer at the 2004 Olympics, Lee made his professional debut in his adopted home town of Detroit. Lee won a points decision over six rounds against Anthony Cannon.

KRONK LEE BOXING Source: AP/Press Association Images

Round 2: Sharpe focus

Eight months and five fights into his professional career, Lee walked into Madison Square Garden for the first time. Another unanimous points decision over Dennis Sharpe brought his record to 6 – 0.

APTOPIX LEE SHARPE BOXING Source: AP/Press Association Images

Round 3: Making a name

Back in the Garden on St Patrick’s weekend, 2007, Lee’s fifth stoppage in eight fights came against former national featherweight champ, Carl Daniels.

Boxing Lee Daniels Source: AP/Press Association Images

Round 4: Dublin calling

Lee claimed his first belt in December 2007. The Irish Super Middleweight title was won at the expense of Co. Down’s Jason McKay in the National Stadium.

Andy Lee and Jason McKay Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Round 5: A sort of homecoming

In February 2008, Lee fought in Limerick for the first time since becoming a pro. Argentine Alejandro Gustavo Falinga was KOd in the fifth at UL.

Andy Lee wins the fight Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Round 6: Tasting adversity

Between wins in Limerick, Lee lost for the first time when Brian Vera stopped him after seven rounds in Connecticut. In March 2009, Lee took Alexander Sipos to The Point and, despite the below wobble, defeated the German on points.

Andy Lee takes a tumble Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Round 7: Home comfort

After beating Sipos, Lee headed off on the road again with wins in Gelsenkichen and Indiana before two fights in in six months in Limerick; the second was May 2010, when he made his record 21 – 1 with a stoppage of Mamadou Thiam.

Andy Lee celebrates after the fight was stopped Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Round 8: Green card for title chase

In 2011, on a midsummer midweek card in Rosemount, Illinois, Limerick’s Andy Lee won a unanimous decision over Alex Bunema to become the North American Boxing Federation’s middleweight champion.

Round 9: Settling scores

With another belt to polish, Lee’s next outing would see him exact revenge for the only defeat on his 27 – 1 record with a unanimous decision over Brian Vera in Atlantic City.

Boxing Source: AP/Press Association Images

Round 10: A world title shot

After setting out to box clever on the big stage in El Paso, Lee was drawn into a brawl. By the seventh round, however, the power of Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr proved too much and the world title dream was put on ice for another day.

Source: boxnationofficial/YouTube

Round 11: Turning it all around

“If I lost them, I was seriously considering retiring,” Lee said this week about last year’s fights with John Jackson and Matt Korobov.

“I knew that was going to be my last chance at becoming a world champion. It’s very rare that people get three chances at a world title.”

With that in the back of his mind in Madison Square Garden, a weaker fighter would have panicked after getting knocked down in the first round by Jackson…

Jackson Lee Boxing Source: AP/Press Association Images

Instead, Lee rose. Lee absorbed further punishment from the Virgin Islander on a hot New York night, knowing that as long as he was still on his feet, he had a chance.

In the fifth, Lee was in full survival mode when he took his opportunity.

lee-ko

Jackson Lee Boxing That guy in the second row definitely didn't see it coming. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Round 12: Crowning glory

Eight years and 36 fights after he stepped in to the ring in Detroit, Andy Lee became WBO middleweight champion of the world.

Andy Lee lands a flurry of punches on Matt Korborov forcing the referee to stop the fight Source: Raymond Spencer/INPHO

Another impressive lightning strike while in fluid motion rocked Russia’s Matt Korborov before Lee moved in to seal the sixth-round finish.

Source: HBOBoxing/YouTube

That’s the making of a champion.

Andy Lee celebrates winning with his wife Source: Raymond Spencer/INPHO

‘People are what they consistently do’: How Andy Lee changed since becoming world champ

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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