Monday 18 November 2019

Andy Lee Big Fight Diary: New preparation a far cry from sleeping in blow-up beds during amateur days

Andy Lee: Big Fight Diary

Andy Lee says he is disappointed that Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor won't be on the bill next month
Andy Lee says he is disappointed that Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor won't be on the bill next month

Andy Lee

'The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.'

I imagine every boxer who has ever laced a pair of gloves can empathise with that famous Muhammad Ali quote. With 45 days to go until my world title defence I'm bang in the middle of a punishing training schedule.

I had a break back in Dublin at the weekend when I did promotional work for the fight with an appearance on the 'Saturday Night Show' with Miriam O'Callaghan on RTé.

I flew back to London on Tuesday night and I will stay here close to my training camp in Surrey until the week of the fight. I'm staying in the home my trainer, Adam Booth, which is a just a 15-minute walk from the gym.

It's an ideal location and a far cry from my amateur days when, together with a few other members of the Irish squad, we slept on blow-up beds in the changing rooms of the National Stadium while we were preparing for the 2004 European Championship in Croatia.

I know it's a cliché but basically once a boxer goes into camp all he does is eat, sleep and train. Diet is very important and in this regard Adam is a wonderful role model for all his boxers.

He is very health-conscious himself and of course because we're sharing a house we can keep a close eye on what I'm eating.

Not surprisingly, there is a no-alcohol policy while all dairy products and breads are effectively banned as well. I follow a simple, but healthy eating regime. There is a balance to be struck.

As I'm burning up a lot of calories naturally because I'm doing so much training I cannot starve himself because it would sap my strength ahead of the fight.

So basically I eat a lot of fish, chicken, rice and grains and I might have meat once a week. For breakfast this morning I had three boiled eggs but I only ate just one yolk.

My first training session of the day is at 11.0am and lasts at least two hours. For lunch I normally have a bowl of porridge made with water and sprinkled with sultanas.

Then I'd take nap before a second training session in the evening. I'd have my main meal of the day at around eight in the evening which would be either a fish or chicken dish. Depending on how my weight is I will probably reduce portion sizes in the week leading up the fight in order to be sure of making the middleweight limit of 11 stone, six pounds.

At the moment I've about ten pounds over the limit. But only about three of those pounds is actual fat; the rest is just water. So I just dry out before the weight-in to make sure that I'll dip under the middleweight limit of 11 stone, six pounds.

Before I linked up with Adam I was based in Detroit for many years where I trained in the famous Kronk gym in Detroit under Emanuel Steward. There is a much different culture in the US when it comes to eating.

There are bigger portions; there is a predominance of red meat and even when I went out to a restaurant and ordered something I thought was healthy it turned out to be full of calories!

I started sparring last week and from now on this will form a big part of my preparation. I was sparring with Ryan Ashton, a welterweight from Birmingham, who is a southpaw like my opponent Billy Joe Saunders. I will be sparring Ashton again this week as well as another welterweight Bradley Skeete, who is WBO European champion. So it's pretty full on.

I'm really disappointed that Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor won't be on the bill next month as we had planned.

I don't know all the details of what happened in the end. But I know Adam did all he could to make it happen but unfortunately it wasn't too be. I'm sure Katie is disappointed as well.

I have deliberately stayed clear of all these issues as well as the sales of tickets.

But I'm told that ticket sales are very strong and my dream is to defend my title before a full house in Limerick.

Tickets for the WBO world middleweight fight between Andy Lee and Billy Joe Saunders at Thomond Park on September 19 are available on starting from €30

Irish Independent

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