Andy Lee from Limerick, Ireland wakes up this morning as the new WBO middleweight champion following an impressive sixth round stoppage win over Matt Korobov Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Lee started the fight by keeping matters at long range and was patience using his jab and picking his punches. Both boxers utilized their respective technical boxing skills in the early going with not much to split them.
In round six, Lee stepped up and unleashed a ferocious right hook which stunned Korobov to his boots. Sensing blood, Lee moved in and unleashed a barrage of heavy punches, forcing referee Kenny Bayless to stop the fight at 1.10 into the round.
It was an emotional victory for the Irishman; he was elated that he had won the prestigious prize of the world middleweight championship title and his name would be added to the boxing record books alongside champions such as Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Robinson and Carlos Monzon.
The former Athens 2004 Olympian had now realized his boyhood dream, the fruits of his labour and dedication had finally paid off. He had stayed the course, battled with adversity and came out on top.
After the fight, Lee paid homage to the two most influential people in his boxing career, the late Emanuel Steward and Adam Booth.
Lee signed with the legendary boxing guru Emanuel Steward on December 15, 2005 and left the comfort zone of Ireland to live with Emanuel in Detroit and pursue a professional boxing career.
He served his apprenticeship and learnt his craft at the famous Kronk Gym in Detroit and obtained valuable experience in numerous training camps.
Emanuel and Andy lived like father and son looking out for one another. Sadly, Emanuel passed away after a short illness on October 25, 2012.
Lee relocated to London and teamed up with another world class trainer and manager, Adam Booth. In the past two years, Adam has made adjustment to Andy’s game enhancing his boxing skills and ability both mentally and physically.
Adam and Andy also have a strong friendship and working relationship.
Andy commented, “I would like to say thank you to my manager and trainer Adam Booth, who has done so much for me over the last couple of years, but it’s also for the man who made me, Emanuel Steward.”
Emanuel Steward will be smiling from Heaven proud of his protégé, saying "I told you all my Irish Tommy Hearns would be world champion. He has done it".
Premier US promoter Lou DiBella was delighted that his fighter Andy Lee won the championship belt with such an impressive stoppage. Lou has projected Lee’s talent in recent years thorough boxing events on HBO television and advanced his career with wins against Craig McEwan, Brian Vera and John Jackson.
Andy will now celebrate and enjoy Christmas before contemplating his next fight.
Ireland has another world champion and there will be a few pints of Guinness drank in Limerick, Dublin and around the country to toast Andy’s victory for a few days to come.