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Fitzer focused on proving himself

It's a bout I thought might never come together. But on the Carl Frampton-Kiko Martinez undercard in Belfast on Saturday, February 9, the Pride of Dublin, Anthony Fitzgerald (13-3, 4 KOs), will face Andy Lee (28-2, 20 KOs).

When I met Andy in London last summer, he'd already put a seventh-round WBC middleweight title loss in Texas to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr behind him. Since then we've had the tragic unexpected death of Lee's former coach, Emanuel Steward, in October. Andy has since relocated to London to train with Adam Booth.

Fitzer was last in action when he gave one of the most talked about performances in the Prizefighter series in May but lost to eventual winner Eamonn O'Kane.

Matchroom were so impressed by Fitzer's grit and determination that they made this bout with Lee a reality.

The Dubliner is putting in the hard hours. "We trained over Christmas," says coach Phil Sutcliffe. "We've been training hard for this one since well before Christmas. Anto has been getting great sparring and is more focused than he's ever been. He's also in the best condition of his life. Andy Lee knows what Anto has. He knows he's been underestimated.

"He knows Anto has a good chin and that he's very aggressive. It's going to be a good fight."

This is an opportunity Fitzgerald aims to grasp with both fists. "I want to prove I'm at that level," he says.

Rees revels in Street talk

Gavin Rees (32), the Welsh lightweight who handed Andy Murray his first defeat in 25, was shocked to hear himself mentioned on Coronation Street last week ahead of his WBC world title bout in the States with Adrien Broner. "Wonder if they can find a little role for me after I retire," he tweeted.