Boxing

Lee Selby: I want to be a major force in the featherweight division

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Globally speaking, the featherweight division has always been a gift that keeps on giving to boxing. Although in recent years the spotlight has faded from the once thriving division.

However, the featherweight division is back in vogue. Some of the established big name little guys such as Nonito Donaire and Abner Mares are now plying their trade in the 126lb weight class.

Another notable name is Mexican veteran Jhonny Gonzales, who captured the WBC crown with a stunning 1st round knockout over the former featherweight king Abner Mares.

Add to the list of formidable featherweights, unbeaten American knockout artist Nicholas Walters (24-0, 20KO’s) who is now the WBA champion by virtue of his recent stunning 6th round stoppage victory over Nonito Donaire.

IBF title holder Evgeny Gradovich and current WBO champion Vasyl Lomachenko are the other eminent fighters in the red hot featherweight division.

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Yet although the division is thriving at world level, it has been a particularly fallow period for our homegrown featherweights: the last British world champion at 126lb was Scott Harrison in 2006.

However, domestic featherweight, Lee Selby, is set to bring the British glory days back to the 126lb weight class. Selby is now the mandatory challenger for the IBF belt and thus is guaranteed a title shot in 2015.

In a GiveMeSport exclusive, I caught up with the Barry boxer to discuss his plans for world domination...

"I want to establish myself as solid champion with a few defences."

When quizzed about whom he feels will win the upcoming November 29 IBF title fight between Gradovich and the highly rated Jayson Velez, Selby stated: “I see Gradovich winning the fight on points.

"He has been there and done it and likes to keep active. I think he will edge it with his superior work rate.

“Velez is a great contender, but Gradovich is now an established champion and has fought at a higher level."

On topic of who he would like to face from Gradovich or Velez, Selby - in typically confident fashion - stated: “I'd rather fight Gradovich - his style is made for me.

"Not only that, after his next win he will be an even more established champion. So when I do beat him I will get the credit I deserve.”

Ambition

Selby is consummately confident and the Welshman will not be content with simply winning a world title. He wants to defend it, and establish himself as the major force of the featherweight division.

“When I win the IBF I want to establish myself as solid champion with a few defences. Then, I want the unification fights.”

When I asked which of the title holders he would target at 126lb, Selby commented with conviction: “Any of them. I want to be the best so I have to beat the best.”

With talent like Selby’s, you cannot dismiss his dreams as delusions of grandeur. 2015 will be the year the Welsh Dragon starts breathing fire in the featherweight division.

Follow Lee on Twitter: @leeselby126
Follow me on Twitter: @F1ghtingTalk
Find me on: http://robbiebannatyne89.wordpress.com

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