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Sturm brewing as Andy Lee drops off Macklin-Martinez undercard

Andy Lee’s camp have moved to open negotiations for an April title fight against WBA “Super” Middleweight champion Felix Sturm.

Image: Brian Peters Promotions

ANDY LEE HOPES to fast-track his path to one of boxing’s world titles by lining up an April showdown against WBA “Super” Middleweight champion Felix Sturm.

Promoter Lou DiBella guaranteed that the Limerick southpaw would finally get his title shot in 2012, and handed Lee top billing on the televised undercard ahead of Sergio Martinez versus Matthew Macklin on 17 March.

But on Saturday, Lee announced his decision to withdraw from that fight “due to the unavailability of a suitable world-ranked opponent,” and immediately turned his attention towards Sturm.

Sturm’s last two title defences came against Macklin, whom he beat in a controversial split decision last June, and Britain’s Martin Murray who also went the distance in a points draw against him in December.

The German has already said that his next title defence will be in Germany on 13 April, and negotiations for a suitable opponent are still ongoing.

“We are talking with Sturm’s people. Andy wants a big fight. He wants to fight Felix Sturm,” Lee’s promoter, Lou DiBella, told BoxingScene.com.

Andy and [trainer and manager] Emanuel Steward want the fight. They want me to pursue this opportunity and that’s why Andy is not fighting on 17 March. He wants to hold out for a big opportunity. Sturm doesn’t have an opponent for April and we hope to make that fight.

“Team Lee have collectively decided it is in my best career interest to pass on a fight on this occasion,” Lee said as he announced his withdrawal on Saturday.

An all-American super middleweight match between Edwin Rodriguez and Donovan George has been lined up to replace Lee on the Martinez-Macklin undercard, diBella confirmed.

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Niall Kelly

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