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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Andy Lee Throws Gauntlet Down to Challenge Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for WBC Title

Kronk Irish Middleweight Star Andy Lee (27W-1L, 19KOs) is ready and available to fight World Boxing Council (WBC) World Middleweight Champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (45W- 1D, 1NC 31KOs) on June 2 or 16.

Following Chavez Jr.’s second successful defense of his WBC title against Marco Antonio Rubio in San Antonio on February 4, 2012, Team Lee, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum and HBO Boxing agreed in principle to the Chavez Jr. vs. Lee fight.

In the past few days, Team Lee has been made aware that Team Chavez is reluctant for Chavez Jr. to face Lee due the Irishman’s southpaw style.

Team Lee strongly believes their fighter has earned his place to challenge Chavez Jr. for his WBC belt. Lee is highly ranked in the middleweight division, and is currently positioned as the WBA #2 and WBO #2.

In recent months, the Kronk fighter has also been knocking on the door of other world title shots, but was bitterly disappointed when he failed to secure title challenges with WBC Diamond Champion Sergio Martinez on March 17, and WBA Super Champion Felix Sturm on April 13.

The Chavez Jr. vs. Lee fight is a war the boxing public wants to see; two young fighters doing battle for the WBC middleweight title. This an opportunity for promoters and television executives to rejuvenate the sport of boxing, and showcase two exciting and entertaining young Mexican and Irish warriors that are popular with the US television audience.

The Irishman’s last two impressive performances live on HBO made an emphatic statement that he has the skills and attributes necessary to challenge and win a world title. A barnstorming 10th round KO victory over formerly unbeaten world ranked Craig McEwan on March 12, 2011, and a boxing master-class performance against the durable Brian Vera on October 1, 2011.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was born with boxing in his blood, and has followed in the footsteps of his legendary father, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., six-time world champion in 3 weight divisions. After only 2 amateur bouts, Julio turned pro at the age of 17 on September 26, 2003 in Culiacan, Sinalao, Mexico. Since then, the Mexican warrior’s US promoter, Top Rank, has astutely promoted and guided their protégé over the last 8 years to become a world champion and box office attraction at the age of 26.

Andy Lee followed a different path in boxing; he had a successful amateur career lacing up his gloves at the age of 11 to go on to win a host of Irish national titles, multi-national tournaments, a Silver medal in the World under 19s in 2002, a European Bronze senior medal in 2003 and was a 2004 Irish Olympian.

Since Lee’s pro debut at the famous Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on March 10, 2006, Emanuel Steward has nurtured and honed the boxing skills of his pupil, and carefully chartered a pathway for his fighter to become a world title champion.

Lee commented from Detroit today, “I would now relish the opportunity to fight for a world title. A title shot against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. would be a challenge I would rise to. It is every boxer’s ambition to be a world champion.

I would love to fight Julio for the WBC title on June 2 or 16. It would be a tough fight, but I believe I have the skills to beat him. The Irish and Mexican people like a good fight, so let’s get it on.”

The Chavez Jr. vs. Zbik world title bout on June 4, 2011 successfully drew 1.5 million viewers on HBO and, with over 40 million people in the US of Irish descent, a Chavez Jr. vs. Lee title bout has the potential to boost these viewing figures significantly, and generate substantial revenue for fighters, promoters and broadcasters.

Steward, presently in Waldimir Klitschko’s training camp, commented, “Andy has established himself has an entertaining fighter in America and Europe. I think a fight between Andy and Julio would be a great fight; they are two young fighters burning with ambition and have a track record of being in exciting fights.

Andy is the most prominent and visible middleweight contender resident in the United States at this time; it makes good sporting and business sense for HBO and promoters to make the fight between Andy and Julio.”

Team Lee is confident that if Top Rank and Team Chavez are up to conclude discussions and negotiations for the fight, that a deal can be done and dusted over the next few days.

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