Several hundred people turned out in Limerick last evening to welcome home the WBO Middleweight World Champion Andy Lee.
The 30 year old was given a hero’s reception on the steps of Limerick City Hall where earlier the Castleconnell native enjoyed a civic reception by Limerick City and County Council in recognition of his achievements.
“This victory is for me, my family and for Limerick. I will be a champion that Limerick can be proud of,” Andy Lee told the ecstatic crowd.
This is a dream come true, I’ve always wanted to become a World Champion and a big part of that was to bring the belt home to Limerick.”
Mayor of Limerick City and County, Cllr Kevin Sheahan, said Limerick was deeply proud of its new world champion.
“You may not have known it but when you stepped into that ring on Saturday night, you had the support of an entire nation behind you,” Mayor Sheahan said.
“Your victory has cemented your place in Irish boxing history. When you claimed the world title, the people of Castleconnell, Limerick and Ireland celebrated another milestone moment in Irish sport. In your own words directly after the fight Andy – you truly are on top of the world.
“On behalf of my colleagues and the people of this proud sporting city and county, I want to wish the best of luck to you as you seek to defend your title on home soil.
“We will all be behind you, although sufficiently back from the ring so as to avoid your right hook! Congratulations and well done,” he added.
Speaking at a press conference in Limerick City and County Council, new WBO Middleweight champion Andy Lee enthused about a title defence at Limerick’s Thomond Park next year.
“Maybe Thomond Park in the summer which would be another dream come true. We’ll see. Hopefully that can be arranged.”
Andy Lee is the first Irish fighter to secure a world title on American soil since Belfast’s Jimmy “Baby Face” McLarnin retained the World welterweight belt on a split decision over Barney Ross at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1934.