British and Commonwealth Featherweight champion Lee Selby says he’ll move onto World honours when he wins the Lonsdale belt outright against Ryan Walsh at The O2 on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
The Welsh star defends his titles against the unbeaten Cromer fighter on the stacked bill in East London, and the 26 year old, ranked seventh with the WBC, says it will be time to aim for the big guns if he emerges with the win.
“This will most probably be my last domestic test,” said Selby. “I will have won the Lonsdale belt outright when I win this fight and now it is time to look towards European and World level.
“It is a natural progression once you have won the Lonsdale belt outright. There isn’t much point continuing to fight for it when you can move on to the European stage. I am the mandatory challenger for the European belt so I want to win that next.
Selby’s last action saw him put in a mature display to take Viorel Simion’s WBC International title in Hull in July, a fight that Selby feels was an examination of his top-level credentials, and one that he passed.
“He was my toughest opponent yet,” said Selby. “It was non-stop pressure and he took some good shots and kept coming. I would have scored it eight rounds to three with one draw, but scoring the fight like that doesn’t really tell the story because they were close rounds but I was just edging most of them.
“I wasn’t too pleased with the performance but I got the job done. It was an important fight and I wasn’t going to take too many risks, I just wanted to get the job done. I don’t think I boxed to my best ability on the night, I just did enough to win. I didn’t take any risks like I usually do. There were reasons I wasn’t at my best but I don’t make excuses, it is what it is and it is done now. I had my own problems but I won’t make any excuses.”
Although Selby didn’t blow Simion away like previous opponents, he garnered praise for his mature performance and that acclaim has only further boosted his belief that a World title is within touching distance.
“I have been very pleased with what people have been saying about me,” said Selby. “Since I joined Matchroom Sport and have been on Sky Sports more people are getting to see me and they are getting to see the hard work I have been doing in the gym get put into practice. I am very pleased with how this year has been.
“With Matchroom Sport promoting me I think Eddie Hearn would be able to get me a World title shot pretty soon. But I don’t want to just fight for a World title and put on a good performance; I want to be able to win the belt and defend it for a long time. I would say after tonight’s fight I would want another good three fights against good opposition, and then I think I will be ready for the World title.
“I would fight any of the World champions. I think the easiest at the minute would be the IBF champion, Evgeny Gradovich. When I say the easiest, he is a World champion so he is a very good fighter but he would suit my style the best but I would be happy to fight any of the World champions.
“It is a very exciting time. All of my hard work is paying off. I have had three 12 round fights, tonight will be my fourth and I will hopefully get another one in before the end of the year. That would be five 12-round title fights in 2013 and I would be very pleased with that.”
Selby’s clash with Walsh is part of a great night of action at The O2 as Olympic Gold medal hero Anthony Joshua MBE makes his pro debut and Scott Quigg takes on Yoandris Salinas for the WBA World Super Bantamweight title.
British lightweight World title contender Kevin Mitchell faces Marco Lopez for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental Lightweight title, Joshua’s fellow Gold medal teammate Luke Campbell boxes for the second time as a pro against Neil Hepper, Prizefighter champion Wadi Camacho faces Tony Conquest and Danny Connor defends his Southern Area Light Welterweight title against Tony Owen.
Tickets for Anthony Joshua’s debut ‘Carpe Diem’ are on sale now priced £40, £60 and £100 are available on 08448 24 48 24 and The O2’s ticketing agent – www.AXS.com. VIP packages priced £200 are exclusively available from Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900 or at www.matchroomboxing.com