There will be a strange sense of familiarity for Andy Lee in Las Vegas on December 13 when he faces Matt Korobov, whose parents might even count the Limerick southpaw among their family friends.
Lee has secured a shot at the vacant WBO title against the Russian amateur sensation-turned unbeaten professional on December 13. And, in a bizarre twist, Lee has been keeping a close eye on the 31-year-old’s career for seven years, after meeting his opponent’s parents in the US.
He explained: “I was training in Florida in 2007 when Wladimir Klitschko was to fight Sultan Ibragimov, and this man and woman would come every day and watch me sparring. One day they came over to introduce themselves, and it was Matt Korobov’s mother and father. It’s crazy, really. I know them quite well because they lived in Florida and their son remained in Russia to stay in the amateur programme. Because of that I’ve followed his career closely, and they know who I am.”
Korobov, a two-time world amateur champion, is undefeated in 30 professional fights. Lee said: “He has shown flashes of his brilliance from the amateur days but hasn’t been fighting top-level guys (at professional level).
“He hasn’t fought at my level yet. But there is pedigree there and it’s a world title fight so he’ll be bringing his best.”
Lee has been preparing for the fight in Monte Carlo. “My trainer Adam Booth lives here. People live in a different reality with the money but it doesn’t affect me, the routine’s the same: eat, train, sleep, then do it all again. I’ve an apartment in Beausoleil. We’ve no distractions here.”
Victory against Korobov will open up lucrative opportunities. “Once I win this fight, I’ll have a tonne of options,” Lee said. “Matthew Macklin will be one. But for now, I’m preparing for the biggest fight of my life.”
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