Confident Thiam predicts Lee knockout

MAMADOU THIAM, the Senegal-born knock-out specialist, went to the scales for yesterday’s weigh-in at the George Hotel with a warning for Limerick’s Andy Lee in advance of tonight’s Yanjing Fight night at the UL Arena.

“I’m not here for a holiday, I’m here on business,” the former European champion said.

“It’s nothing personal between me and Andy Lee but I am very confident that I can knock him out. I am punching harder than ever and I can knock guys out with either hand so I won’t need to rely on the judges.”

Lee, however, insisted he is going to win this fight come hell or high water.

“This is a must win fight for me,” he said. “I can’t afford any slip-ups. I will have to be wary of Thiam’s power. He’s a dangerous guy and has an awful lot of experience but these are the kind of fights I need to be winning if I’m going to go on to fight for European and world titles.

“This is a good opponent for me at this stage of my career. He has a lot of experience and a good record. He is a dangerous puncher but he is a little bit past his best. It will be a good learning fight for me.”

Lee’s trainer, Joey Gamache, was taking the threat seriously, admitting they were going in against an opponent who was going to be dangerous right through to the final bell.

“It’s always dangerous facing a puncher – first round, last round, this guy will be coming on,” he said. “He is a cutie, he knows how to box, he knows how to punch and he is and a former European champion who fought for the (world) title twice.”

Limerick light-heavyweight Jamie Power could hardly have been handed a more suitable venue for his shot at the Irish light heavyweight title, although he faces a formidable opponent in John Waldron from Ballyhaunis. If he wins, he will make history by becoming the first Limerick-born professional to win an Irish title.

Unbeaten Cavan lightweight Andy Murray, ranked number three in Europe has his sights on another member of the Murray clan – unbeaten Manchester lightweight John Murray, current custodian of the European belt.

“I’m not too far behind John Murray right now and in a couple of fights hopefully I will get a shot at him,” he said.

Tonight he plans to underscore his rightful claims to a shot at John Murray’s title when he trades leather with another Englishman, Amir Unsworth.

Two of the Cork-based Cubans will also be in action. When 21-year-old super middleweight Luis Garcia lays his unbeaten five-bout record on the line against Alexander Sipos (Germany), who took Andy Lee the distance last year at the O2. Heavyweight Mike ‘The Rebel’ Perez, will make history by opening the show against Edgar Kalnars and returning to the ring for a second time in a matter of hours to take on Tomas Mrazek.

Perez will be returning to the ring after a 13-month lay-off due to an injured shoulder. Originally scheduled to meet Mrazek, Perez jumped at the opportunity of a second fight when newly crowned Irish heavyweight champion Coleman Barrett withdrew.

The remainder of the card will see Michael Sweeney look to get over the disappointment of his Irish title bout falling through when he takes on Belfast’s Tommy Tolan, while Mullingar’s Paddy McDonagh takes on former Andy Lee opponent and Irish champ Ciarán Healy. The pro debut of Galwegian, Alan Donnellan, rounds out the card as he takes on England’s Ryan Clark.

Tonight’s programme, UL Arena: A Lee (162.25) V M Thiam (160.5) (Middleweight; 10 Rounds); J Power (175) V J Waldron (173.5) (Irish Light Heavyweight Title; 10 Rounds); L Garcia (172.5) V A Sipos (172.25) (Super Middleweight; 8 Rounds) M Perez (227.25) V E Kalnars (214.25) (Heavyweight; 4 Rounds); M Perez (227.25) V T Mrazek (223.5) (Heavyweight; 4 Rounds); A Murray (137.5) V A Unsworth (137.5) (Lightweight; 6 Rounds); P McDonagh (168.5) V C Healy (167.25) (Super Middleweight; 6 Rounds); M Sweeney (179.5) V T Tolan (178.5) (Light Heavyweight; 6 Rounds); A Donnellan (156.25) V R Clark (155.5) (Light Middleweight; 6 Rounds).

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