Belfast’s Brian Magee will challenge undefeated IBF super-middleweight champion Lucian Bute in an all-southpaw showdown this Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.
The contest is in Romanian-born Bute’s adopted home city of Montreal and is Magee’s first fight outside Europe.
Thirty-year-old Bute has a 100% record with 22 of his 27 wins coming by knockout while Magee has lost three times in his 38-bout pro career.
With strong local support, Bute (right) has not fought outside Canada in five year. But the fight will be held on St Patricks day and Magee believes the local Irish population of Montreal will come out in support of him.
In September, Magee made the first defence of his European title, stopping Armenian Roman Aramian at Dublin’s National Stadium and it was then thought he might be pitched against Dimitry Sartison, the World Boxing Association champion.
“I am really looking forward to the fight,” Magee said “I have been to Canada many times as an amateur and I love the place, especially Montreal. The people are great and it’s a great city.”
The challenger held the IBO title from 2001 to 2004 and has travelled abroad before when controversially unsuccessful in a European title challenge in Germany in 2005, but he believes the experience he has gained since then will help him in his quest for recognised world title.
“I’m excited about taking on Bute, I know I am up against the best in the division. I have worked hard for five years to get here and deserve the chance to fight for this title,” added Magee.
The southpaw’s other two defeats came against world class opponents and both were gruelling affairs, with Magee giving as good as he got against both current and former WBC champions Carl Froch and Robin Reid in epic battles, four and six years ago respectively.
For the 35 year-old Irishman this is his last chance to rule the boxing world. During his time Magee has held the British, Commonwealth, European and IBO titles at 168lbs, and he will be seeking to score his 35th win in 39 contests against the unbeaten title holder and admits he will have to put in the effort of a lifetime, to bring the belt back to Ireland.
“I’ve been an away fighter all my life,” said Magee at the final press conference.
“Fighting away from home and being an underdog is good experience to have under your belt,” he said. “It’s not new for me to be an underdog, so I have to believe I can win here.
“I have to have the performance of my life, but anything’s possible.”
“It’s been four years since I faced a southpaw but we had lefthanded sparring partners,” Bute said. “And we watched a lot of video of Magee.
“He’s a guy who is physically strong and very aggressive. He hits hard with both hands, but he has weaknesses too and we have a good game plan,” explained the champion.
Lucian Bute v Brian Magee for the IBF super-middleweight title is live on Showtime on Saturday night from 10pm ET/PT and live on Premier Sports, Sky channel 433 from 2am for UK and Ireland viewers.
- Bute to defend title against Magee in March (canada.com)