Middleweight Andy Lee (18-1) has a new opponent for his August 21 fight at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana.
Out is Jose Humberto Corral (18-13), and the man stepping into the breach is Anthony Shuler (20-6-1).
Shuler should provide better opposition than Coral would have supplied, and has a few more named opponents on his resume.
“He’s a better opponent, better known in boxing and is a step up from the other guy. It was always likely to happen you know, that the opponent changes in this type of fight, and it was something I was kind of prepared for,” Lee told the Irish Voice on Monday.
Lee has been working with Emanuel Steward and Sugar Hill in the Kronk Gym in Detroit. Lee’s brother Roger has also been helping out while visiting in recent weeks.
“It’s been a good camp,” continued Lee. “I’ve been sparring Dominique Dalton, who is fighting himself on August 29. We’ve been sparring each other and helping each other prepare, and he is definitely one to look out for in the future.”
The change in opponent actually suits Lee’s preparation, as he has been sparring smaller, faster guys, and that is the mould that Shuler falls into.
In 2003 he lost his highest profile fight when Alex Bunema defeated him by unanimous decision for the WBC Continental Americas light middleweight title.
Since then, he has become somewhat of an opponent, and lost to Luis Ramon Campas by TKO in round one in May 2004.
The 32-year-old from Indianapolis is coming off a June 18 third round TKO defeat to Andy Kolle in Minnesota (his first fight in two years and two months), and before that a second round knockout to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in April 2007.
Lee also had a visit last week from RTE’s Washington correspondent Charlie Bird who visited the Kronk Gym. Bird is visiting cities all over the country for a program to air next year show called A Year in America, and took in the gym on his visit to Detroit.
Lee will be able to count on the support of a few friends from Queens who are making the trip to see him in on August 21.
“A few of the lads from Queens are heading up, a few lads I hang out with when I am in the city. They are going to make the trip and make a weekend of it, so look out Chicago, the boys from Queens are coming,” Lee said.
Lee will head home post-fight for a break In Limerick, and if the August goes well and he emerges unscathed, he hopes to have another fight in October.
In other news, there has been some communication between the camps of James Moore (17-2) and Irish light middleweight champ Neil Sinclair (32-7).
Sinclair, who won the title when he TKO'ed Henry Coyle in round two of their fight in May, had been linked earlier in the year with John Duddy , but now it would seem some preliminary negotiations have taken place between representatives of Moore and Sinclair.
“We are waiting for Tommy Egan to come back with some numbers and when he does we will take it from there,” advisor Barney Moore told the Irish Voice on Monday.
Dubliner Tommy Egan is representing Moore in preliminary talks with Sinclair’s camp, though Sinclair’s trainer John Breen was quoted in the Belfast Newsletter as saying that the two camps had some work to do to make a deal.
"Moore wants the fight and we want to fight him, but he wanted megabucks to take on the fight. Neil Sinclair is the holder of the belt and he should be getting the lion’s share of the purse," he said.
"He just wanted too much money, so the fight will not go ahead at this stage. If he comes back with a more reasonable demand, then you never know. But Neil (Sinclair) would win the fight if it did go ahead. I have no doubts."
In other news, John Duddy is preparing for a big date of his own on August 30, but it won’t be in the ring.
The 26-1 middleweight will be marrying his fiancée Grainne Coll in Derry City. Duddy spent time in New York to meet up with his advisors for the past few weeks but has returned home ahead of the pending nuptials.
The 30-year-old is expected back in New York in mid-September and will head straight to training camp, as he is expected to make his return to the ring in October.