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Lee vs. Urbanski: Could Urbanski be one of Andy Lee’s toughest opponents?

Andy LeeBy Dan Fitz-Simons: Although Andy Lee’s fans are speculating about a revenge match between their Kronk hero and his nemisis, Bryan Vera in February, no one should under-estimate Daniel Urbanski, Lee’s next opponent. Lee (24-1-0) is scheduled to fight on December 11th in Germany on the Klitchko-Chisora undercard, and there is an assumption Urbanski is just a stepping stone to Lee’s quest for a world title. But Andy himself is well aware that his only loss was by upset to Vera. It’s been a stark reminder to the young Irishman that anything can happen in the sweet science.

Daniel Urbanski (19-5-3) probably won’t defeat Lee, but he could be one of Andy’s toughest opponents. The 26-year old Polish warrior won his last 7 contests and has 27 fights under his belt. A solid B-level contender, he has a 3-star rating with a resume of ranked European fighters including: Golovkin, Studer, Buysangurov, and Britsch. His achievments include the Polish Light Middleweight Title, and the IBF Youth Title. Urbanski (like Lee) enjoys a good fight; he has already had 6 bouts in 2010. Young, sharp, and experienced, he is ranked #34 among European middleweights by boxrec.

Urbanski is a level above Lee’s last 3 opponents (Cook, Walker, and Lowry) so Andy could have his hands full. Still, there’s never been a question regarding Lee’s power, and he has taken out opponents with either hand. Manny Steward has also helped to develop Lee’s vicious hooks to the body, which the Limerick man throws with devastating results. But ever since his loss to Vera, Lee’s stamina, and ability to fight on the inside have remained questionable. Thus, when Andy ran out of gas against Belghecham, Steward hired a physical conditioner, and the stamina issue faded away.

Nevertheless, lingering concerns over stamina might explain why this fight is only eight, instead of ten rounds. Steward isn’t taking any chances with his Irish gold mine. Manny’s best scenario is for the fight to go the distance, so that Andy is challenged by a decent opponent for a “safe” eight rounds. Urbanski could provide an excellent tune-up for the more important contest against Vera. But it’s unlikely that Lee’s ability to fight on the inside will be tested. Andy has a 5” height advantage and can keep Urbanski away by fighting tall on the outside as he usually does.

The odds are that Lee will defeat Urbanski. As a southpaw, Andy presents a problem to Urbanski’s orthodox style. Moreover, Urbanski at 5′ 9,” has a reach disadvantage against Lee, who stands at 6′ 2.” Andy is too smart to get sucked into a phone booth war, and even if he does, Urbanski has only 5 KO’s and 3 draws; he’s no banger. On the other hand, Urbanski has been stopped twice, while Lee has become a stronger, faster fighter after his loss to Vera. Since then, he’s had 9 wins, 5 of them ending early. Andy has 18 KO’s, and it’s very possible he’ll target the Polish fighter as his 19th KO victim.

The Limerick Assassin is rated # 4 by the EBU, # 8 by the WBA, and # 15 by the WBC. He has fought opponents from the U.S., Russia, Latvia, Senegal, France, Germany, Austria, Ireland, and Argentina. Moreover, his mentor, Manny Steward, is one of the best trainers in the sport. As a stablemate of Vlad Klitchko at Kronk Gym, Lee has also had the advantage of sparring with the World Heavyweight Champion, as well as his own cousin, Tyson Fury, the British Heavyweight Champion. Look for Andy to win against Urbanski, although not as easily as he did over previous opponents.

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