‘Irish’ Andy Lee clashes with the unbeaten Russian Matt Korobov for the vacant WBO Middleweight world title at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, USA, on December 13th with the winner of the fight likely to face mandatory challenger Billy Joe Saunders in their next fight after he overcame Chris Eubank Jr.
The London born Irishman has predominantly fought in the United States since beginning his professional career but whilst he has had successes in picking up NABA and NABF belts he has never won a recognised world title. He challenged for world honours once before but lost his first world championship fight via a seventh round TKO against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr for the WBC belt back in 2012. In such a competitive division this could well prove to be his last shot at winning a world title after rebuilding himself since the loss to Chavez Jr with five straight victories. After his failed world title shot Lee hired a new trainer in Adam Booth and is unbeaten since. Booth has a good reputation in the UK after working with the former undisputed unified Cruiserweight, and heavyweight world champion David Haye and also steering Middleweight George Groves for most of his career towards world level. Similar to his opponent Lee is a Southpaw and has no shortage of knockout power to call upon. In his most recent outing he came back from a first round knockdown to Knockout John Jackson in the fifth round with a spectacular one punch knockout.
Korobov is a counterpunching southpaw that has been avoided of late by a number of fighters for one reason or another. The 31 year old won his last fight against dangerous Venezuelan puncher Jose Uzcategui via a unanimous decision. Korobov is the favourite with the bookmakers and understandably so. He is the undefeated fighter who is yet to show real weakness and has never been sent to the canvas in his pro career. He also has decent power but whilst he has the edge in skill, at 5/2 odds off the experienced Andy Lee perhaps represents the better value in what is being deemed as a fairly evenly matched contest on paper.
LEE: W33 KO23 L2 KO2 KO%65.71
KOROBOV: W24 KO14 L0 KO 0 KO%58.33