Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

Mike Lee set to fight at ND on Sept. 16

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Few can say collegiate intermural boxing served as a springboard to a professional boxing career, which is one reason why light heavyweight Mike Lee's seventh pro fight will be on the same Notre Dame campus where he earned a finance degree from the Mendoza School of Business.

The fight against an as-yet-unnamed opponent will be part of a six-bout fight card scheduled to be held at the Joyce Center on September 16, the night before the Fighting Irish host Michigan State. All proceeds will benefit the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation and the Robinson Community Learning Center, which provides education and mentoring services for underprivileged kids in South Bend, Ind.

"To think it was only five or six years ago that I got that letter that somehow I got into Notre Dame," Lee said at a press conference announcing the first pro fight to be held on Notre Dame's campus. "It was the best day of my life, to be honest. Notre Dame has done so much for me during my four years there. This is an opportunity for me to give back."

Lee's improbable road to being undefeated in six pro fights (four by knockout) is drawing notice across the boxing world. The Wheaton native and former Benet Academy-Lisle linebacker got his start during Notre Dame's long-standing Bengal Bouts, which were started by Knute Rockne in 1920. Lee became a three-time champion. 

His passion of the sport thus sparked, he took a year off after graduating with a 3.8 GPA to pursue boxing full-time. He won the 2009 Chicago Golden Gloves, prompting his decision to turn pro. The 24-year-old is currently being managed by Top Rank and trained by Ronnie Shields, who has also worked with Mike Tyson, Pernell Whitaker and Evander Holyfield.

"We're on the path where we need to be," Shields said of Lee, who has four knockouts. "He's getting better and better every fight."

Because of his lack of experience, Lee is being brought along slowly, but thanks to the support of Notre Dame fans he has already become a surprising draw.

Tickets for the Sept. 16 event can be purchased at the Notre Dame ticket office or by calling 574-631-7356.

"I promise that weekend we'll have two wins for Notre Dame," Lee said.

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on August 2, 2011 7:03 PM.

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