IRISH CHAMPION ANDY Lee will make his first title defense on 11 April against former champ Peter ‘Kid Chocolate’ Quillin (31-0, 22 by KO) at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York.
Limerick fighter Lee (34-2, 24 by KO) defied the odds to beat Matt Korobov with a come-from-behind stoppage in last December’s vacant title bout. Now, he travels to America to face the man who controversially vacated that same title.Source: HBOBoxing/YouTube
In a move that angered a lot of boxing fans at the time, Quillin vacated his belt last year rather than face then mandatory challenger Matt Korobov. After already been given two extensions to the signing deadline, Quillin decided to vacate rather than be stripped of his title. Asked for his reasons, he said:
Winning the WBO world championship was a highlight in my career and something I’ll never forget, this is a difficult decision, but in order to make the fights the fans and I want against my fellow middleweights at the top of the division, I needed to relinquish the title.”
It was reported that Quillin turned down a career best purse of $1.4million dollars and was widely accused of “ducking and picking his fights”.
This was all great news for Andy Lee, of course. He stepped in to face Korobov and stopped him in the 6th round. Behind on all scorecards, Lee staggered the Russian and unloaded a huge barrage of punches until the referee was forced to step in.
To his credit, Quillin won the WBO belt in similarly thrilling fashion against Hassan N’Dam back in 2012. ‘Kid Chocolate’ floored the Frenchman six times on his way to a one-sided decision.Source: KNOCK OUT TV/YouTube
He has come in for a lot of criticism since then for his opponent selection. Apart from vacating the title, his last two opponents were less than impressive. Journeymen Lukas Konency and Gabriel Rosado were odd choices in a division that boasts names like Golovkin, Murray and Cotto.
Lee vs Quillin should be an entertaining spectacle, with most boxing commentators expecting a bloody back and forth contest.
Speaking to Off The Ball a few weeks ago, Quillin said the fans should be happy.
It’s a fight that the fans should be happy with. This is a match-makers dream. Andy Lee is a very durable opponent and I’m undefeated still. We’ll be looking to secure our legacies and it makes for a good fight.”
One man who will be keeping a close eye on the fight is British Olympic medalist Billy Joe Saunders. The mandatory challenger for Lee’s WBO title, Saunders was reportedly paid £100,000 to “step aside” and allow Quillin to have his shot at at winning back the gold.