Middleweight Andy Lee (31-2, 22 KOs) defeated Ferenc Hafner (21-5, 12 KOs) by second round TKO at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England, on Saturday night on the undercard of the super middleweight world title fight between George Groves and Carl Froch. Lee took the fight on three days notice after fellow middleweight contender Martin Murray pulled out of the promotion due to illness.
Both men came out throwing big punches, but it was the tough Hafner who snapped Lee’s head back with an overhand right in the opening exchange. Lee absorbed the shot well and was quick to find his range with good left and right hand shots to the body.
Lee was timing the haymakers Hafner was hurling, and midway through the round he countered with a left hook to the body that forced the Hungarian to take a knee. Lee ended the round well with accurate uppercuts and shots, but Hafner still came forward.
The second round continued in a similar vein with the game Hafner making a fight of it, but the slick Lee was picking him off and knocked him again with a well-timed left cross. Hafner rose off the canvas once more, but shortly after a right hook put him down again and referee Mark Lyson called a halt to proceedings.
The Irish Voice caught up with Lee on Monday to get his take on the fight.
“I was happy about the whole weekend. It was a big show and I fought in front of a large audience. Once I settled into the fight I boxed and moved well. I thought I chose my punches well, scoring knock downs with a body shot, left cross and finally a right hook, a perfect hat trick!” said the 29-year-old.
Lee could be back in action again early next month, and he is reaping the benefits from getting these rounds under his belt with new trainer Adam Booth.
“I’m hoping to fight on December 14. The show is in Germany. It is not confirmed yet but Lou [DiBella] and Adam [Booth] are working on it,” added the Castleconnell, Co. Limerick native who now calls London home.
“I always stress the importance of staying active, there’s no substitute for ring time so it was great to get to fight. That was my third fight with Adam and I’m getting used to his fight weekend routine.”
In the ring interview post-fight, Lee reiterated once again that he wanted to fight fellow Irish middleweight Matthew Macklin, who fights Lamar Russ in Atlantic City on December 7.
DiBella promotes both men and Lee, who turned down the chance to fight “Mack the Knife” earlier this year, feels the time is now right for them to finally lace up against each other.
“As far as the fight with Macklin, there is nothing official yet. But Lou has said that the fight could happen in March of next year with New York City and Dublin being mentioned as venues,” Lee said.
Lee acknowledged that Booth told him his foot work was a little off at the start of the fight and that he needed to not back up standing straight, but added that these were things that he was working on to redress in the gym. This fight was also the first where Lee did not wear the Kronk colors of red and yellow.
“I wanted to change my shorts to reflect the changes I’ve made as a fighter. Black and red is a very strong combination!”