George Kambosos Jr. and Lee Selby are both eager to collide in a bout to determine who will land a shot at a lightweight title. Efforts to get to that point, however, have reached an impasse and has now become available to the highest bidder.
A purse bid hearing for a final eliminator between the pair of lightweight contender has been ordered by the International Boxing Federation (IBF), with the session to take place January 28 at IBF headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey.
“On December 27, 2019 the IBF ordered #3 ranked [l]ightweight [c]ontender George Kambosos Jr. and #4 ranked [l]ightweight [c]ontender Lee Selby to begin negotiations for an [e]limination [b]out for the #1 and [m]andatory ranking in the [l]ightweight division,” Daryl Peoples, president of the IBF stated in a letter submitted to all IBF-registered promoters, a copy of which BoxingScene.com has obtained. “An agreement could not be reached within the time frame set forth by the IBF.
“The IBF is ordering a purse bid hearing in these offices on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at 12 Noon.”
News of the ordered purse bid hearing was first revealed via social media by The Athletic boxing insider Mike Coppinger.
A 30-day free negotiation period was allotted to the respective handlers for Kambosos Jr. and Selby to come to terms for the final eliminator. The winner of the bout will become the mandatory challenger to the lightweight title recently acquired by Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12KOs), who captured the belt with a spectacular 2nd round knockout of Richard Commey last December at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Australia’s Kambosos (18-0, 10KOs) appeared on the undercard of that show, scoring a well-earned 10-round split decision over former lightweight titlist Mickey Bey to prove his worth on the contender stage. From there, his team—which includes high-powered 2019 Manager of the Year nominee Peter Kahn and Hall of Fame-elected promoter Lou DiBella—opened up negotiations with Matchroom Boxing, whom represents Wales’ Selby (28-2, 9KOs).
According to sources from both sides, plenty of progress was made but just not enough to avoid the IBF-assigned deadline to reach terms. With each eager to control the rights to the bout, offers made both ways were respectfully declined, leading to the bout now being subject to a purse bid hearing.
Selby is a former featherweight titlist who leaped two weight divisions to begin a run at lightweight in 2019. His first ring adventure following a hard-fought title conceding effort to Josh Warrington saw the Welshman—who turns 33 in February—outpoint divisional gatekeeper Omar Douglas last February. The bout took place at The O2, where Selby first claimed his featherweight belt in a technical decision win over then-unbeaten titlist Evgeny Gradovich in May 2015, making four successful defenses before falling short to Warrington.
The O2 also hosted Selby’s most recent bout, a 12-round decision win over former three-division titlist Ricky Burns last October.
Regardless of who claims promotional rights to the title eliminator, such a bout will likely take place in the spring. Such a time frame is also the target for a lightweight unification clash between Lopez and three-belt and pound for pound entrant Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-1, 10KOs), leaving even more at stake for the winner of a forthcoming Kambosos-Selby clash.
Per IBF purse bid rules, promoters planning to acquire rights to the fight are required to submit a non-refundable $5,000 participation fee, along with a 10% deposit of the total bid amount. The winning bidder will then be required to submit another 10% of the total amount within five (5) business days.
The winning offer will be split 60/40 in favor of Kambosos as the higher-ranked contender.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox