This Saturday night, top-rated former middleweight world-title challenger “Irish” Andy Lee (31-2, 22KO’s) returns to action when he takes on Frank Horta (34-12-5, 13KO’s) in an eight-round special attraction at the Blue Water Dokken in Esbjerg, Denmark. It will be the first bout of 2014 for the former Olympian and the fourth since joining forces with one of the U.K.’s premiere boxing coaches, Adam Booth.
While the fight on Saturday is viewed by many to simply be a stay-busy fight for Lee, who saw his world championship shot against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin be put on hold after the unexpected death of GGG’s father, the bout does in fact have more implications than that for the 29-year-old Irishman.
A lifelong middleweight, currently rated #6 by the WBC, #11 by the WBA and #12 by the WBO, Lee decided to make the move down to junior middleweight and immediately become a force in the 154lb. division.
“I’m looking forward to fighting Saturday. Frank Horta is an experienced opponent from whom I expect a tough fight. I hope to win in style and move onto bigger fights. In the past, I made 160 pounds comfortably and by making some changes to my diet, by eating how I should’ve been, I can now make 154. I’m performing better than ever and look forward to some big fights and opportunities at 154,” said Lee.
“We are looking forward to seeing Andy perform on Saturday night in his first fight at junior middleweight. A victory on Saturday night could set Andy up with a spot on the Cotto-Martinez undercard on June 7, on HBO PPV. So this fight definitely has heavy implications,” said promoter Lou DiBella.
Having represented his native country of Ireland in the 2004 Olympics, before successfully turning pro in 2006, the rangy 6’2″ southpaw has seen his body go through a complete transformation since he began working with the highly regarded Booth in early 2013. Lee, who is known for having very good power with both hands, as witnessed by his 71% knockout ratio, will seemingly have a significant size and power advantage with the move down in weight. Lee’s losses as a pro have come against middleweight contender Brian Vera in 2008 (whom Lee later convincingly defeated in their rematch) and in his first world championship opportunity at then-WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 2012. Following the loss to Chavez, Lee has won three bouts in a row, including two inside the distance.
Big things are expected for Lee in his new division, but he must first take care of business on Saturday night.
Andy Lee, Irish middleweight contender (31W – 22 KOs, 2L) will be in action this Saturday evening against Frenchman Frank Haroche Horta (34 W – 13 KOs, 12 L, 5 D), in a Sauerland Promotion event at the Blue Water Dokken Sports Venue, Esbjerk, Denmark.
Lee was due to fight Gennady Golovkin on April 26, 2014 at the MSG Theater, New York on HBO Boxing, for the WBA world middleweight title, but the fight was called off due to the death of Gennady’s father Gennady Ivanovich Golovkin on February 18 and the boxer’s decision to understandably take some time out of boxing to take care for his family.
Lee presently ranked WBC #8, WBA #11 and WBO #12 in the world ranking plans to stay busy and ring sharp as he pursues his ambition to fight for a world title later this year.
Horta is a durable opponent and has only been stopped twice in 51 outings over his 8 year professional career.
Lee commented following a training session in London ‘I’m really looking forward to fighting on Saturday night; I expect a tough fight and for me to put in a good performance. I have trained hard for this fight and I am ready to win.’
The Irishman has also been pencilled in to fight in Cardiff, Wales on a Matchroom Boxing card on May 17.