The rumours have been confirmed and Andy Lee will be returning to his native Limerick on 15th May to box an as yet unnamed opponent. Lee was an interested spectator recently as former foe Affif Belghecham pushed potential rival Darren Barker close in London.
“I'm not going to be disrespectful to Barker, he's a decent guy and he's the new European champion so full credit to him but I think his fight at the weekend exposed his limitations,” said Lee.
“Belghecham is a handful, he's durable and keeps rumbling forward and he had Barker on the run for most of the second half of the fight. I don't think there was much in it after the twelve rounds and I know quite a few people thought Belghecham deserved to win it and the TV commentators only had Barker winning by a single round.”
Lee was cruising against EU champion Belghecham last November when the Frenchman came on strong in the later rounds as he sought to cause an upset. Andy held him off to complete a points victory but needs to keep busy and stave off inactivity if he is to fight for a meaningful title in the near future. His sole conqueror Brian Vera has been mentioned as a possible opponent, along with Khoren Gevor or Mahir Oral.
Promoter Brian Peters expects to confirm Lee's opponent in the coming days. “We've been in contact with some good, established names and they have expressed an interest in coming to Limerick for the fight and I know that Andy and his manager Emanuel Steward have been looking at the various options so we should be in a position to lock someone in over the next few days. For now though Lee is concentrating on next months fight in Limerick and he's looking forward to his fourth professional outing in his native city.
“It's always an incredible experience walking to the ring in your hometown,” said Lee. “You recognise so many people in the crowd and it really brings it home to you that you are representing Limerick as much as you are yourself. The support is always incredible and the buzz in the city on the week of a fight when I head home is always great.”
A press release then explains further details on what promises to be an extremely strong undercard: The undercard for the Yanjing Fight Night promises fireworks with Irish titles up for grabs for the first time ever in the Treaty City.
“We've put together a great undercard for this show,” revealed Peters. “Limerick's own Jamie Power will be taking on Mayo's John Waldron for the Irish light-heavyweight title," he explained, "and the cruiserweight title will also be on the line between another Mayo man, Michael Sweeney and the unbeaten Dubliner, Ian Tims.
"They are two great 50 - 50 fights and with so much pride and the Irish titles on the line I've no doubt they will be thrillers.”
Undefeated Cavan star Andy Murray also features in Limerick fresh from his impressive win over Oisin Fagan in the main event on RTÉ's last Pro Box Live show. The 27-year-old lightweight has 18 straight wins to his name in the pro ranks and like Lee is right on the verge of a European title fight.
Recently crowned Irish heavyweight champ Coleman Barrett will also be in action. The Galway native has won all but one of his 12 pro fights to date with his only defeat coming to Olympic Gold medallist and new European champ Audley Harrison in last year's Prizefighter final.
Limerick fight fans will also be excited by the return of Cuban heavyweight phenomenon Mike “The Rebel” Perez to Shannonside. The Cork-based southpaw is unbeaten in eight pro contests and in his last Limerick appearance the former world Junior amateur champion needed just 41 seconds to chalk up another KO victory.
Perez's compatriot Luis Garcia will also be out to impress. Despite having had just five professional fights the 22-year-old super-middleweight is already ranked in the world's top 50 and has been described by many boxing insiders as a special talent and a future world champion.
Another intriguing contest on the bill will see Mullingar's Paddy McDonagh taking a major step up in class as he tackles former Irish champion and former Andy Lee opponent Ciaran Healy in just his second pro fight while the Limerick based Galwegian Alan Donnellon make his professional debut in a light-middleweight contest.