Andy Lee celebrates his win over Matt Korobov after their fight for the vacant WBO middleweight title

Photos:  Getty Images /

By:  Declan Taylor –

  • Andy Lee recovers from a slow start to stop Matt Korobov Irishman landed huge right hand in the sixth round to rock the Russian
  • Lee threw a barrage of unanswered punches and the referee stepped in
  • Lee is the new WBO middleweight world champion 

The old saying goes that nice guys finish last.

But Andy Lee made a mockery of that, and the bookmakers here in Las Vegas, to become the new middleweight champion of the world on an emotionally charged evening on the strip.

And, although he might not describe it as such, there was a sense that the popular 30-year-old fulfilled his destiny in front of the widow of his former trainer, the legendary Emanuel Steward at the Chelsea arena inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel. 

It was Steward who took Lee under his wing, immersed him in his famous Kronk philosophy in Detroit, even let him stay at his home after they met in 2002.

Steward guided Lee through his formative years as a professional and even up until his first challenge for a world title, the unsuccessful attempt to wrestle the WBC title from Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in 2012.

But Lee was forced to go it alone four months later when Steward passed away until he linked up with Adam Booth, who was in the corner here, and the brains behind Lee’s preparation for this shot at the WBO title.

Lee admitted in the week, in the suite 45 floors above the venue, that a defeat here would likely end his career, with no desire to fight his way back from another failed title challenge. He also said that he was completely confident of beating undefeated Matt Korobov.

And he showed exactly why in the sixth round of this contest, which was otherwise tentative, quiet and cagey. In fact, the only moment of note before the stoppage was when Lee momentarily stiffened the Russian with a left hand in the centre of the ring.

It was a sign of things to come.

In the sixth round, Lee shipped a left hand but, almost immediately, connected with a right hook that is swiftly becoming his trademark. Korobov tottered, stunned from the impact, and Lee did not waste a second, swarming the 31-year-old. Referee Kenny Bayliss waved it off quickly.

The celebrations were passionate as Lee, truly one of boxing’s good guys, embraced his new trainer Booth. His wife was also hoisted into the ring to join the new WBO champion.

He is the first Irish middleweight to clinch a world title since Steve Collins who, 20 years ago, won this very belt. He is also the first man from the travelling community to win a world title in the history of professional boxing.

Speaking of the traveling community, this victory also sets up a mouth-watering contest between Lee and Billy Joe Saunders, who is the mandatory challenger for the new WBO king.

That is one to look forward to next year, but for now, Lee and his team should savour this moment and their achievement against the odds in this famous gambling district.

When asked how to sum up the feeling of becoming champion, he said: ‘It’s tough to describe. When I thought about this moment, I had a speech in mind.

‘I would like to say than you to my manger who has done so much for me over the last couple of years.’

But then Lee paid a poignant tribute to Steward, whose widow Marie was in attendance for the bout, along with a clutch of other Detroit natives who cheered Lee on from the crowd.

He went on: ‘But it’s also for the man who made me, Emanuel Steward.

‘We spent seven or eight years together and he said I would win a world title.

‘His wife Marie came here today, flew all the way from Detroit so from everybody from Detroit and Kronk, thank you very much.

‘Matt Korobov was giving me nightmares but i could hear all the cheers from all that came to see me from New York and Detroit.

‘We were trading and a lot of the times he was having the better of it but my right hook is a killer punch I thought he wasn’t going down but i wasn’t taking any chances.’

And what of that showdown with Saunders?

‘I am a champion now and I want to defend my belt in Ireland,’ he said.

But, for now, it’s back to Ireland to celebrate a Christmas as world champion.

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Photo by Chris Farina / Top Rank – Andy Lee won his first title after defeating Matt Korobov by TKO on Saturday.

LAS VEGAS — Andy Lee spent most of his career at the side of the late, great Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward. They traveled everywhere together and became almost like father and son.

Lee even spent several years living in Steward’s Detroit home when he moved from Ireland to the United States. In their first title shot together, Lee got knocked out by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the seventh round in 2012. A few months later, Steward died from cancer.

Vowing to win a world title in Steward’s memory, Lee knocked out Matt Korobov in the sixth round to win a vacant middleweight world title on Saturday night on the Timothy Bradley Jr.-Diego Chaves undercard at the Cosmopolitan.

Lee, 30, of Ireland, and Korobov, 31, a 2008 Russian Olympian now living in Florida, were both tentative early in what was a jabbing contest between southpaws as they each tried to establish control. It was a close contest all the way and neither man had taken control when the fight suddenly came to an end.

Out of nowhere, Lee (34-2, 24 KOs) landed a tremendous right hook that badly staggered Korobov. He did not go down, but he was in terrible trouble and Lee jumped all over him. Lee landed numerous punches until referee Kenny Bayless had no choice but to stop it at 1 minute, 10 seconds.

“We were trading and a lot of the times he was having the better of it but my right hook is a killer punch. I thought he wasn’t going down but I wasn’t taking any chances,” Lee said.

Lee said during the lead up to the fight that he wanted to win the title in Steward’s memory and then he paid respects to him in victory.

“When I thought about this moment, I had a speech in mind,” Lee said. “I would like to say thank you to my manager [and trainer Adam Booth], who has done so much for me over the last couple of years, but it’s also for the man who made me, Emanuel Steward.

“We spent seven, eight years together and he said I would win a world title. His wife, Marie, came here today, flew all the way from Detroit, so from everybody from Detroit and Kronk [Gym], thank you very much. Matt Korobov was giving me nightmares but I could hear all the cheers from all that came to see me from New York and Detroit.”

Korobov (24-1, 14 KOs) was ahead on all three scorecards, but had no complaints about the stoppage.

“I’ve never been hurt before but he got me with a tremendous hook,” he said. “I was stunned. I couldn’t continue.”

Said Charles Mooney, Korobov’s trainer, “He should have taken a knee but it didn’t happen and he couldn’t continue.”

Lee won the fight with titleholder Gennady Golovkin ringside and they could meet in a unification bout.

“Great performance and strong performance,” Golovkin said of Lee’s knockout.

Before a Golovkin fight, however, Lee had something else in mind.

“I am a champion now and I want to defend my belt in Ireland,” he said.

Lee and Korobov were fighting for the 160-pound belt that Peter Quillin vacated rather than defend against Korobov, the mandatory challenger, for a career-high purse (about triple) of $1,428,630 under the terms of a purse bid won by Roc Nation Sports. Lee, the next leading available contender, quickly accepted the fight.



Photo by www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/sport/boxing/article4075068 –

Article:  Boxing Clever –

Former gold-medal winner Wladimir Klitschko wants to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games.

According to an Interfax-Ukraine news agency report Klitschko, the undisputed professional world heavyweight champion, has said he wants to box in Rio de Janeiro.

“I hope international amateur boxing’s ruling body will be kind to me and that I will have enough health and motivation to perform at the Olympics in two years time,” the agency quoted the 38-year-old Ukrainian.

Klitschko, who won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, said he had spoken to his former coach, Emanuel Steward, during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Steward, who died in October that year, had encouraged him to box again in Rio, Klitschko said.

“I already have an Olympic title and it would be terrific to repeat this experience 20 years later.”

Klitschko retained his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles in Oberhausen, Germany, last Sunday when he knocked out Australian challenger Alex Leapai after two minutes and five seconds of the fifth round.

It was his 25th “world” title fight.