Boxing

Preview: Lee Selby v Fernando Montiel

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Lee Selby makes his US television debut in the early hours of Thursday morning when he defends his IBF featherweight title against Fernando Montiel at the Gila River Arena, Arizona.

Montiel, 36, is a tough Mexican veteran of 60 fights and a former three-weight world champion who promises to provide an extremely stern test for the “Welsh Mayweather”.

Selby recently commented: “It is a tough fight and Montiel has been a pro for 20 years. He's unbeaten in the last four years, but this is the sort of fight I need and I feel I'm more than capable of winning.”

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The champion believes that an impressive display against Montiel will open the door to potential mega fights in the future.

“I want to go to America and fight an ex-three-weight world champion and build up my profile over there,” said a confident Selby.

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If “upping his profile” is what Selby is hoping to accomplish, then he is certainly giving himself the best opportunity to do so.

Back in August, Selby, 28, became the latest world class fighter to pledge his allegiance to boxing’s most powerful, yet elusive advisor, Al Haymon.

An elite group

This piece isn’t a eulogy to Haymon, however, it is worth noting that Selby is joining an elite group of fighters under Haymon’s wing, including Floyd Mayweather Jr., Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton, James DeGale and Danny Garcia.

If Selby is able to negotiate his way past Montiel – the former WBO flyweight, WBO super flyweight and both WBO and WBC bantamweight world champion – then there are a whole host of mouth-watering matchups to be made in the brilliant featherweight division.

Haymon acts as advisor to both Leo Santa Cruz (WBA featherweight champion) and Gary Russel Jr. (WBC featherweight champion) so negotiating a potential unification bout sometime in the near future could certainly be on the cards.

Other standout names in the division include Vasyl Lomachenko (WBO champion and arguably the greatest amateur of all time), Abner Mares (who is also advised by Haymon), and Jamaican destroyer Nicholas Walters.

Domestically, Selby also has the chance of taking on Josh Warrington at some stage in the future. The highly skilled Commonwealth champion has a huge following in Leeds, and the fight would surely sell out Elland road.

If Selby passes his first American test with flying colours, then it might not be too long before the modest Welshman becomes a household name worldwide.

Gila Arena, Arizona.                                                                                                                           IBF Featherweight Championship.                                                                                                 14th October 2015 9 pm E.T (2 am BST)

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