Its official the battle between Ireland’s top two boxers, both world ranked middleweights will take place on March 12 between Andy Lee and John Duddy at Foxwoods Resorts Casino in Connecticut.
For the winner there is an almost certain invitation to a world title fight so the stakes could not be higher.
The fight will feature as chief supporting bout to Sergio Martinez - Sergei Dzinziruk WBC world middleweight clash at Foxwoods Andy Lee, is currently ranked # 5 by the WBA and # 14 by the WBC. This Middleweight world title contender had originally been in the running to challenge Sergio Martinez, but will now do battle with fellow Irishman, John Duddy live on HBO television.
The Irish Showdown coming on the weekend before St Patrick’s Day is a duel that promises to pack the Foxwoods Resort Casino arena with fans expected to travel to the venue from across the East Coast and from Ireland.
Emanuel Steward, legendary Kronk boxing icon firmly believes the all Irish war between Andy Lee (24w 18ko,1L) and John Duddy (29w 18ko, 2L) will be an Irish block buster event that will go down in Irish boxing history as the greatest fight ever to happen since Irish prize fighters Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney fought in the ‘Battle of the Long Count’ world title clash on September 22, 1927 at Soldier Field, Chicago, IL.
Steward commented ‘There is a great appetite and interest amongst Irish boxing fans and boxing fans in general about the showdown between these two young talented fighters. Both fighters are ranked in the world ratings.’
‘It has all the ingredients for an epic and classic battle. Styles make fights and the contrasting styles of Lee and Duddy are very evident. Andy is a technical boxer who carries a lethal punch and John is a courageous ring warrior who likes a bloody war. Both fighters have plenty of heart and can fight in the trenches when the going gets tough, it will make an unbelievable fight. ’
Over the last few years speculation at times has been at fever pitch about the prospect of the mouth watering Lee/ Duddy encounter, with the media and public viewing the fight as a prestigious Irish boxing event and a historic sporting occasion.
The waiting is now over with Lee and Duddy ready to lace up and touch gloves and get the fight on and address the burning question – Who is the # 1 Irish Middleweight Fighter in the world today?
The charismatic and popular Irish fighters both have similar stories to tell in daring to step out of the home comfort zone and live out their dreams in pursuit of someday being crowned middleweight boxing champion of the world. Each left Ireland’s shores a number of years ago to seek fame and fortune in the world of professional boxing in the United States and were welcomed and embraced by the Irish Diaspora, with supporters in large numbers attending their fights.
Both fighters are now at crossroads in their careers, Lee is on a 9 fight winning streak and moving in the direction of a world title challenge in 2011 and Duddy after losing to Julio Chavez Jr in June 2010 is looking for a fight that will bring him redemption and rejuvenate his world title prospects.
Lee commented ‘There has never been a better time for the fight. It is a fight were the stakes are stalked high and that neither fighter can afford to lose, a defining moment in our careers. It is an ‘Irish High Noon Shootout’ a winner takes all fight, where both fighters will be 100% fired up for battle with their reputations and careers on the line and with the winner taking home more than his fight purse.’
‘ I want to make my mark this year in boxing, I turn 27 in June and have 5 year and 25 fights under my belt as a pro now. I want to move from fringe contender into a World Champion in 2011.’
The countdown to a Lee/Duddy fight will definitely generate a lot of interest with boxing commentators and pundits debating and 2nd guessing what fight strategies are likely to be adapted by both fighters - will the come forward and pressure style of Duddy draw Lee into a brawl or will Lee’s ring craft and punching power be too much for Duddy and see him stopped for the first time in his career?
Steward commented ‘I am very excited about the fight; it has drama and edge written all over it. It will be a memorable fight for Irish boxing fans that will go down in Irish boxing history as a classic. I think for both men it’s a huge fight at this stage of their careers and I believe Andy will be the victor and this will result in him challenging for a world title in 2011. As far as I’m concerned Andy is the best middleweight in the World!