Irish middleweight boxer Andy Lee, speaking on Newstalk Sport Saturday, has called out compatriot Matthew Macklin for what could prove to be one of the biggest fights in recent Irish boxing history, and a make or break bout for both fighters.
Lee views the fight as a critical moment in both fighters’ careers, telling host Ger Gilroy- “A win for either of us would propel us to a world title fight again” and predicted “whoever wins the fight will go on and whoever loses the fight will have to either pack it in or start again.”
Lee is confident Macklin is the best fight for his career, saying, “that’s the fight I’d like, maybe in Ireland or in New York, either place, but that’s definitely the fight I want…It’s been on the cards for a long time and why not? We’re fighters, why not fight each other?”
During the interview, which is available to listen to in its entirety on Newstalk.ie/sport, Lee discussed his new training arrangements in the wake of the death of former trainer, Emmanuel Steward. The London born fighter has now left Detroit to train and live in London, working under the guidance of Adam Booth, best known for his work with David Haye. Lee lived in Detroit for seven years, training at Steward’s world renowned Kronk gym, but has been training in London, with Booth, since August.
During the interview Lee went into detail on the reasons for his move to London and selecting Booth. He admitted he “got into a comfort zone in Detroit” and he feels his move to London will challenge him to improve. “The training Im doing right now, without a fight lined up, is almost harder than any of the training I’d done in the last 5 or 6 years…Most of the training [in Detroit] was centered around sparring, you’d box, you’d spar your way into shape and that’s a good way but that was really the old school way of training” Lee sounded satisfied and optimistic with his new set-up and training, citing Adam Booth’s sport science background as a crucial advantage. “Now we’re doing specific strength and conditioning…more advanced, more up to date”. Lee likened the new training regime to his days with the Irish high performance programme, which he trained under as an amateur.
Lee lost his last bout, and his first world title shot, by way of a seventh round stoppage at the hands of WBC middleweight title holder, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Macklin has had two world title attempts, losing in a controversial split decision to German Felix Sturm, in Germany, and then being retired on his stool in the eleventh round of his Madison square garden fight with Argentinian Sergio Martinez, on St. Patrick’s day last year. Both fighters will now be looking for a high profile fight to move them back to the level of world title contender.
Lee also spoke with a tender honesty about his emotions surrounding the loss of Steward, who was both a friend and trainer to him. He recounted the memorial service, held in Detroit on Tuesday, which lasted five hours as some of boxing’s most respected names spoke about Steward. Lee admitted that he felt a great debt to Steward, saying “I’ll always be grateful for everything he did for me…I got to live my dream just through being with him, being associated with him.”
Azerbaijan clinical in sumptuous victory over Argentina (5:0)
Lausanne, Switzerland, 17 November 2012 - It was a show of might as Azerbaijan Baku Fires overpowered Argentina Condors at the Olympic Sports Center 'Serhedchi' with big names Germakhanov, Selimov, Mursalov, Magomedau and Murtuzaliyev each inflicting defeat on visitors as last season's semi-finalist claimed a resounding win.
Heybulla Mursalov of Azerbaijan Baku Fires
In the night's opening contest, it was the battle of the Bantamweights (54kg) as 2012 WSB Individual Champion Gairbek Germakhanov of Azerbaijan Baku Fires went head-to-head with 22-year-old Argentine London Olympian Alberto Ezequiel Melian. The orthodox Azeri fighter, last season's top ranked boxer in the category, began brightly, applying the pressure and knocking down in his opponent down in the first. Germakhanov continued wearing him down with some precise shots to take the bout in style.
It was fast and furious in the Lightweight (61kg) contest as Russian southpaw and former AIBA World Champion Albert Selimov locked horns with WSB debutant Ignacio Perrin of Argentina Condors. It was a show of total dominance by the home boxer, whose know-how and ring savvy were too much for his counterpart. Outsmarting Perrin in each of the rounds with his movement, Selimov was full of swagger, giving a masterclass in the art of boxing as he cruised to victory. Azerbaijan Baku Fires were now leading 2-0 in the match.
In the next bout, the hosts lined-up another one of last season's Individual Championships finalist with the impressive Middleweight (73kg) Heybulla Mursalov taking to the ring. A lot of punches were thrown by both boxers throughout the five rounds but it was those powerful hooks that made the difference as Argentina Condors' Henrri David Polanco Ferreras struggled to contain numerous assaults. Victory in the tie was assured for Azerbaijan Baku Fires as Mursalov held out for a comprehensive win.
27-year-old Ramazan Magomedau then extended his undefeated WSB record to 11 wins after the Azerbaijan Baku Fires orthodox fighter dominated his Light Heavyweight (85kg) contest versus the accomplished Argentine Facundo Nahuel Simal. Magomedau boxed with panache in a bruising encounter. With both fighting at close quarters, Simal was cut above both eyes by the end of the fifth round and Azerbaijan Baku Fires had four wins on the board.
Putting a gloss on the overall victory, the home side's experienced Heavyweight (91+kg) southpaw Haji Murtuzaliyev next defeated 26-year-old Maximiliano Alejandro Sosa. The Azerbaijan Baku Fires heavy-hitter cranked up the heat in the fourth round and several devastating combinations sent his rival hurt his rival who was sent down twice to the canvas as Murtuzaliyev won by TKO.
Next week, Friday 23 November, Argentina Condors host Mexico Guerreros at Club Villa Lujan with Azerbaijan Baku Fires travelling to Algeria to face the Desert Hawks.
Mexico dominant at home with classy win against Poland (4:1)
Lausanne, Switzerland, 17 November 2012 - Hussars Poland unable to cope with speed and accuracy of Mexico Guerreros with fortress Foro Polanco living up to its name as Emigdio lead the hosts to victory as Alvarez Diaz, Cabrera Vergara and Munoz Gutierrez also record wins in breathtaking Group A match.
The home side flexed their muscle early on with 2012 Individual Championships finalist and veteran of two WSB seasons Elias Emigdio getting proceedings underway in the Bantamweight (54kg) contest versus Hussars Poland teenager Sylwester Kozlowski. The experience of the Guerreros orthodox fighter told as he subjected his opponent to a constant barrage of shots throughout the five rounds to storm to a resounding victory.
With the wind now firmly in their sales, Mexican Lightweight (61kg) Fernando Alvarez Diaz began at frenetic pace, applying constant pressure on Jacek Adam Wylezol of Hussars Poland in the next contest. The local boxer looked comfortable, dictating the tempo with the good use of the jab to give his team a 2-0 lead in the tie.
19-year-old southpaw Marvin Cabrera was next in the ring for the home side, he faced Mateusz Jerzy Tryc at Middleweight (73kg).The Guerreros teenager's compact style and solid combination punches hurt his rival with the vicious body shots doing most of the damage. It was clinical and a joy to watch with the hosts now guaranteed the overall victory.
The dominance of Mexico Guerreros continued in the Light Heavyweight (85kg) riveting match-up between Isaac Munoz Gutierrez and the visitor's Michal Gerlecki. The fans in the arena were treated to real boxing feast in this one with five high quality rounds. Notching up another win, the home team were on a real high with the score now reading 4-0.
Promising Polish Heavyweight (91+kg) Michal Olas, who made the switch over the summer from reigning WSB Team Champions Italia Thunder, showcased his power and confirmed his growing credentials in a sensational final bout. The 23-year-old Pole reduced the deficit for the Hussars with a demolition job of the experienced Venezuelan southpaw Jose David Payares. Early in the second round, Olas unleashed a punishing overhand right that floored his opponent and from there knocked him down twice more to win by TKO.
It was a sensational match that had it all and once again demonstrated the quality and calibre of the fighters in the world's premiere boxing team competition.
Mexico Guerreros now travel to Argentina to face the Condors on Friday 23 November at Club Villa Lujan as Hussars Poland host Russia that same day.