Lee facing toughest battle yet

ANDY LEE meets his toughest opponent so far in Senegal-born knockout specialist, Mamadou Thiam, for his May 15 assignment at the University Arena in Limerick.

The Limerick southpaw believes an impressive performance will open the door for a shot at Darren Barker’s European title. He beat Barker in the Olympic qualifiers back in 2004.

But Thiam is another kettle of fish with a fearsome reputation as a KO specialist. In fact, of his 46 wins, 43 of them have been by the short route. Admittedly he has been on the floor a few times himself.

If Lee can win, then promoter Brian Peters believes his next fight could be for the European title, which Baker won after it was vacated by Matthew Macklin, who is managed by Peters.

“If Andy can get past Thiam, then I believe his next fight should be for the European title and I’d be very confident of bringing that fight to Limerick,” Peters said.

“For me, throughout his career, Andy has always performed best when faced with a real threat and that’s exactly what he will be up against.”

There is another treat in store for Limerick fight fans with the news world and European lightweight champion, Katie Taylor, has been added to an exciting undercard. The 23-year-old has enjoyed a hectic few months that included a visit to the White House. First Lady, Michelle Obama, is a former boxer and, like Katie, was coached by her father.

“It was an honour to be invited to the White House and it was great to meet President Obama and the First Lady,” Katie said. “I never dreamed that my boxing career would present me with opportunities like that.”

The undercard includes two Irish title fights. Limerick's Jamie Power meets John Waldron for the light heavyweight belt while Mayo man, Michael Sweeney faces unbeaten Dubliner Ian Tims for the cruiserweight title. Undefeated Cavan man, Andy Murray, newly-crowned heavyweight champ, Colman Barrett, and two Cork-based Cubans Mike Perez and super middleweight Luis Garcia also feature.

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