By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
EDDIE Hearn believes he’s unearthed a hidden gem in Lee Selby.
British and Commonwealth featherweight champion Selby has followed Ricky Burns and George Groves by joining Hearn’s Matchroom stable.
And Hearn reckons the Welsh fighter can become a superstar.
The promoter says he has the potential to be the biggest draw of all three, adding: “Everyone knows about George and Ricky but there is something about Lee that really excites me – he’s a hidden gem.
“He’s got it all and potentially he’s the most exciting of the recent signings we’ve made. He’s got swagger, can punch and can move.
“He’s had no easy fights. He travelled to beat Stephen Smith in Liverpool and to Belfast to beat Martin Lindsay. That shows you the calibre of this guy.
“No one knows who he is outside boxing, but we can make people go, ‘Wow, this kid can really fight’.
“Inside boxing circles he is already known as phenomenal. He will become world champ and we want to build him into a superstar, which he has the skills and ability to become. I am certain he has a great future ahead of him.
“I know that’s a bold statement but that’s our aim. We want to build him into a superstar. He’s just got something about him.”
Selby, 26, has won all but one of his 15 fights and is due to fight in Blackpool on April 20 and in Cardiff on June 15.
He takes satisfaction from having built his professional career the hard way and said: “I’m confident. You could put me in with Vitali Klitschko and I’d be confident that I could beat him! That’s just my attitude – I’m that kind of guy and will always give it my all.
“I spar with heavyweights in the gym but have never been hurt. I haven’t been given a meal ticket. I started right from the bottom, fighting on small hall shows. Now I would bet my house on winning a world title.
“I’ve started off at the bottom on non-televised shows and now I’m here, it’s a great feeling and I have the chance to get the exposure I deserve.”
Selby’s breakthrough came when he stopped Smith in eight rounds to take his British and Commonwealth titles in front of his home crowd in 2011.
His toughest test came on the undercard of Hearn’s promotion in Belfast in February, when he defeated Lindsay over 12 rounds to retain his belts.
Fighting away from home does not bother him.
Manager Chris Sanigar said: “He has sparred in front of Floyd Mayweather at his gym in Las Vegas and had the crowd banging the canvas and the great man nodding in admiration.”