Borg: Selby will dominate Hunter from the centre of the ring

Borg: Selby will dominate Hunter from the centre of the ring

‘Sugar’ Lee Selby (22-1, 8KO) is going to dominate America’s visiting Eric Hunter (21-3, 11KO), according to the Welshman’s esteemed trainer.

Tony Borg, who coaches Wales’ 12th world champion from the thriving St Joseph’s Boxing Club in Newport, believes the scene is set for Selby to shine on the world stage.

While remaining tight lipped on tactics, Borg was forthright in predicting how the pair’s styles will gel. He said: “I think Lee is going to go out there and dominate from the centre of the ring. He will keep Hunter on the back foot and then back off, let Hunter walk on to shots and break him down after seven or eight rounds.”

The featherweights will fight at London’s O2 Arena on Matchroom Sport’s pay-per-view event, televised by Sky Sports Box Office. The mandatory defence of Selby’s IBF title was formalised after a lengthy negotiating period and eventual purse bid. The uncertainty over a date and venue led to a prolonged training camp and Borg explained it affected his charge’s gym schedule, which had to be tweaked.

He said: “He’s been in the gym training for months and months, he always is. As soon as it was confirmed, we took our foot off the gas a little bit and had to rewind, then step it back up.

“You can’t just train constantly all of the time because you can reach a peak and when you do, you only start going downhill. Before we got these, we stopped and come back in to it.”

It’s been six months since Selby last performed and as usual, the 29-year-old didn’t stay away from the sport for long, returning to the gym a few weeks after fighting. Such has been the length of this training camp, the team were satisfied with Selby’s sparring weeks ago and he hasn’t punched anyone since. Usually, Selby will conclude sparring seven days before fight night but it has been altered this time around.

Borg said: “He’s been sparring for some time now, sparring finished two weeks before fight night. The last two or three weeks have mainly been sharp, technical work in the gym.

“God knows how many rounds he’s sparred. I couldn’t say unless I was in the gym because it’s written down but it’s a lot of rounds. We always get different sparring partners in and do so many rounds with each guy. We never do the same thing, we keep moving it around all the time to keep Lee fresh but he stopped sparring a few weeks ago.”

In comparison to Selby’s two other world title fights, against then-unbeaten champion Evgeny Gradovich and three-weight belt holder Fernando Montiel, the next opponent is relatively unknown. Hunter, a switch-hitter from Philadelphia, has never fought outside of his home country but it’s Borg’s job to look beyond his record, which includes two disqualification losses.

He said: “I’ve been having a good look at him for a while because he’s been high in the IBF rankings. I’ve seen a lot of his fights, he’s a very good all-round fighter but I don’t see him having any massive strong points.

“He’s not a devastating puncher, he’s not a fantastic mover but he’s okay all around, whereas Lee Selby is an exceptional talent.”