Photo by Al Applerose
Ireland's Andy Lee Defends WBO Middleweight Title
By David A. Avila
Ireland’s Andy Lee defends the WBO middleweight title against its former titleholder Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillen on Saturday. It seems the Irish are making a move to show the world their fighting prowess.
Lee (34-2, 24 Kos) meets Cuban-American Quillen (31-0, 22 Kos) on Saturday April 11, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. NBC will show the Premier Boxing Champions co-main event. In the other match Danny Garcia defends the WBC junior welterweight title against Lamont Peterson.
The Irish seem to be on the rise.
Two weeks ago at Indio, another pair of Irish prizefighters showed off their fistic prowess when Jamie Kavanaugh a lightweight and middleweight Jason Quigley both scored impressive knockouts in their respective bouts. The two Irish boxers now live and train in Southern California.
Lee, was formerly trained by the late great trainer Emanuel Steward in Big Bear, Calif. He dedicated the win to his former mentor who passed away in October 2012. Steward had guided numerous boxers to world titles including Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns.
Steward had often told me that his dream was to guide Lee to a middleweight world title. Last December, against Russia’s formidable Matt Korobov, lightning struck as Lee connected with one of his lethal left-hand missiles. The fight was essentially over seconds later.
Throughout history the Irish have shown an ability to perform well in the boxing ring. The very first heavyweight world champion in the modern era was Irish John L. Sullivan. He was followed by many more of his Irish brethren.
Lee hopes to retain the middleweight world title against Quillen a lean stylish boxer-puncher who trains at the Wild Card Boxing club in Hollywood. It should be a very difficult contest for both boxers.
The rise of Irish boxing talent is not limited to the men.
Layla “Amazing” McCarter, who is recognized as the best female boxer pound for pound, knocked out Australia’s Diana Prazak in the seventh and final round of their fight on Saturday at BKB 2 in Las Vegas.
Irish-American McCarter put on an eye-popping exhibition of boxing skills as she was able to maneuver in the very tight confines of the BKB pit that measures only 17 feet in diameter. The Las Vegas boxer floored the always dangerous Prazak once in the fourth with a fluid six-punch combination. Then, finished the fight with an eight–punch combination that had the crowd of more than 2,000 on their feet at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
If you watched the Big Knockout Boxing card on Saturday it was clear to see that Layla McCarter was by far the most skilled boxer on the entire Las Vegas fight card that featured mostly men.
It’s the main reason that boxing experts are realizing that McCarter remains the best female boxer in the world.
When the TV commentator asked McCarter if she would consider boxing a man she replied “I fight men all of the time in sparring. I’ve knocked out a few but I don’t want to name names.”
McCarter is not the only female boxer of Irish descent making waves. Ireland’s amateur standout Katie Taylor seeks to win another Olympic gold medal in 2016 in Rio Di Janiero. After blitzing through the 2012 Olympics in London she’s looking to repeat in Brazil.
The Irish are clearly on the move.