“Biggest win of his career. By far.”
Local pro heavyweight boxer Shane Andreesen is home and feeling good about his game after an impressive win over a world-ranked opponent, and his manager and trainer Richard LeStage says it shows Shotgun “is back and better than ever.”
On the card at Northern Quest Casino Jan. 27 as part of ESPN’s Friday Night fights, Andreesen was all business in only his second fight in the last two-and-a-half years. He pounded out a unanimous decision over heavily-favoured Raphael Zunbano.
As the WBO Latino champion with a record of 31-4 with 26 knockouts, Zunbano climbed through the ropes as the odds on favourite.
“Huge favourite. Shane went into that fight as the huge underdog record-wise I guess,” chuckled LeStage, “but we went in sure knowing he could win.”
The scheduled eight round fight went the distance, “barely.”
“We had two months notice for this fight and we found out about Raphael about two weeks out … this is why you have a promoter,” said LeStage, explaining how Raphael’s record was built in Brazil — and this was his first time fighting on North American soil.
Andreesen returned to the ring after a two-year layoff last June, with a knockout of then undefeated (Jonte Willis at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma.
“I didn’t want an easy fight for Shane,” LeStage said when asked about the dialogue between him and Andreesen’s promoters leading up to last weekend’s fight.
In boxing, styles make fights, but choosing the right opponent is a big part of the game.
“We were looking to get him rolling again, and I made it clear we weren’t looking for the easy knockout. We wanted a tough fight, one where Shane had to earn the victory and improve, and that’s just what we got.
“Shane’s been training harder then he’s ever trained — he trained his ass off. This fight was won in the gym,” said LeStage, adding, “Shane was in absolutely fantastic condition (and) it’s the most focused he’s ever been, so when Raphael’s name came up as a possible opponent there was no question … the confidence Shane had from all that training — he was ready to fight anybody.”
According to LeStage, Shotgun dominated his opponent in the opening round and carried on from there.
“He won every round and he landed some thunderous, and I mean thunderous, body shots.”
Zunbano, said LeStage, “looked a bit dumbfounded. I think he thought he was getting an easy fight in his American debut, and he just got blown away. To Raphael’s credit he was just as they said he was, he’s a tough fighter.”
All three judges had Andreesen wining every round.
The win lifts Shotgun’s pro record to 12-3 with eight knockouts and those covering the fight game south of the border agree the win puts the 2008 Pacific Northwest Prospect of the Year back on the heavyweight radar.
“This fight was huge for us because after the layoff (a seven month layoff due to personal reasons) we wanted to prove to (Andreesen’s promoter, Banner) that Shane’s back and better then he was before. Shane deserves a ton of credit,” said LeStage, the Pacific Northwest Trainer of the Year in 2009.
Andreesen is currently the No. 3 ranked heavyweight in Canada, and is 16th in the Commonwealth. The latest win moved his world ranking up to 83rd from 165th.
“Cracking the top hundred is big,” said LeStage, adding, “that’s what I was hoping to do in 2012, and he did it in his first fight.”
“Pretty good; not to bad at all actually,” Andreesen said. “My face has a couple dings but that’s about it. It feels good … I’m back training already.”
Asked if the fight went down as he expected, Andreesen, 27, made the point “we had a solid game plan going into this, we were ready for any situation.”
Part of that game plan he confirmed, “was to jump on him early. He’s the more experienced fighter, so we didn’t want to give him a chance to (settle in).
“I smoked him good a few times in the opening rounds, he was hurt, but he he was a tough Brazilian with a solid head.”
Asked what he took out of the fight and Shotgun’s answer came quickly.
“I learned a lot going the distance. It’s been a while since I’ve gone that far in a fight, so I had to gauge my output levels … it showed me all that training Rich puts me through pays off because I still had gas in the tank.”
Andreesen is back in the ring in Delaware Feb. 24. for another Friday Night Fights against an opponent to be named.