Timothy ‘Spotlight’ Lee made his anticipated 4 round welterweight pro debut Thursday, June 11th at OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, CA. Only it didn’t go four rounds. In fact, it didn’t even last an entire round. Lee had no problem closing the showing early.
Lee, now 19 years old, stepped into the ring on Thursday after having a short but impactful amateur career. Lee’s amateur record was 35-5. In 2013 and 2014, Lee was ranked among the top amateur fighters in the country.
He earned the silver medal in the 2014 USA Nationals Tournament in the Elite Division. USA Boxing’s Elite Division is for amateur competitors between the ages of 19 and 40 who do not wear headgear and are judged based on the 10 point must system (just like the professionals). Lee began competing in the Elite Division as a 17 year old. As a young kid, he was already fighting grown men. This along with several other experiences helped prepare him to turn pro.
In speaking with him, Lee comes off as a humble and young veteran who seems wise beyond his years. Lee began boxing at the age of 13. He initially started boxing at the H.I.T. Factory in Las Vegas and moved on to the Mayweather Boxing Club where he caught the eye of Floyd Mayweather on multiple occasions while sparring in ‘The Dog House.’
“He just told me keep working hard and stay focused,” said Lee when asked about the best advice Mayweather ever gave him. Lee now trains and fights in Southern California, but considers Vegas his home. He mentions sparring with many notable names including Alfredo Angulo, John Molina, as well as, Zab Judah.
At just 16 years of age, Timothy was in Judah’s camp sparring and helping Zab get ready for a shot at the Junior Welterweight title against Philadelphia native and Junior Welterweight titleist, Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia. Although Judah lost, he didn’t go out without a fight. Zab put on a gritty performance, rallied and had some late success against Danny. “That’s the only way to learn,” says Timothy in regards to getting that valuable sparring experience with a seasoned vet like Zab Judah at such a young age.
Timothy ‘Spotlight’ Lee is known in the boxing community and built a reputation in the amateurs for his heavy hands. His bread and butter punch is the overhand right that is set up by fainting a jab to the body of his opponent. Lee recently became recognized by boxing fans after the sparring videos from his younger days went viral. When asked what he considers to be his style, Lee says, “I like to go forward, but when it’s time to back up, I can do that too. I’m not one dimensional, I have multiple styles.”
To get ready for his pro debut, Lee got solid work from 2012 US Olympian and current professional Super Welterweight fighter, Terrell Gausha (14-0 8 KO). For this camp specifically, Lee was more focused than ever. At the peak of his training camp, he was sparring three Olympians every other day. When you consider all the work Spotlight has had since he was such a young age, it becomes obvious why he seems like such a young veteran.
Lee’s knack for knockouts, the backing of powerful advisor, Al Haymon, and his in-camp experience with top level fighters may help mold him into boxing’s next star. Amongst all this, Timothy is still quick to tell you that he can never stop learning in the sport of boxing. He says he is learning every day and stresses the importance of the ability to learn in order to adapt and adjust in boxing.
On Thursday night, Lee was landing hard punches against game challenger, Chad McKinney of Chicago. Lee threw vicious right hands. On his second knockdown, Lee landed a sharp counter right to the chin of McKinney, violently dropping him to the canvas.
The third and final knockdown was the icing on the cake. Lee connected with a right hand directly on McKinney’s chin and followed up with a chopping left hand. The ref called a halt to the bout immediately as McKinney fell to the canvas. The venue erupted with thunderous cheers and the professional boxing career of Timothy ‘Spotlight’ Lee officially began with a first round TKO.
After the fight, ScarecrowGrin.com asked Tim to assess the fight. “I was really nervous for my very first performance but then adjusted once I landed my first punch,” stated Lee. We asked him when he would like to fight next and he said, “I would like to fight every month for the rest of this year. Anywhere. Anytime.”
This sounds like the beginning of an exciting career. Could Timothy Lee help bring boxing back to the mainstream? We’ll have to wait and see, but he is showing early signs of promise.
Watch Timothy Lee back in action on August 27 at Fight Club OC against 1-1 Carl Deaton from Minneapolis.