Lee Selby – Professional Boxer of the Year

Lee Selby – Professional Boxer of the Year

BoxingWales Annual Awards 2014 Lee Selby – Professional Boxer of the Year This year undoubtedly belongs to ‘Sugar’ Lee Selby (20-1, 8KO) as the fearsome featherweight has risen to global prominence to secure his status as Mandatory Challenger for the IBF world title. Selby, who trains at the St Joseph’s Boxing Club in Newport, has fought three fights since February and the Welshman has scarcely lost a minute of the 27 rounds he’s boxed in the capital cities of Cardiff and London. As 2014 has closed, Selby stands on the brink of becoming Wales’ 12th world champion and the third in the featherweight division, with Russia’s Evgeny Gradovich the only remaining obstacle. It started at the Motorpoint Arena, with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport and Sky television returning to Wales for the first time in three years. The vacant European title was on the line as Selby met Leicester’s famed former bin man, Rendall Munroe. The visitor had previously challenged for a world title 4lbs south in the super-bantamweight division but the naturally smaller man owned no advantages of speed or mobility. Instead, Selby circled Munroe, stepping in his vicious power shots and flurries, rendering Rendall pedestrian for nearly 20 minutes. Munroe was caught cold with the final punch of the opening round and finally finished off with a flurry in the sixth. By also defending his British title for the fourth time, Selby equaled a record set by Howard Winstone 51 years earlier. Three months later in the same venue, Selby encountered Romulo Koasicha, one of those stereotypically tough-as-nail Mexicans. Aside from a big left hook in the middle rounds, Selby’s feathers were rarely ruffled as he won every stanza of the 12 rounder, boxing well within his limits and making it look easy for long, although uneventful, periods. The fight served as an Eliminator for the WBC title but Selby would later pursue another avenue to a world title. The Welshman capped off his year in October by producing the most polished performance of his career, or at least since winning the Celtic title against James Ancliff in 2011, to stop the unbeaten Australian Joel Brunker (27-0, 15KO). The contest at London’s 02 Arena doubled up as a Final Eliminator for the IBF world title and in nine near perfect rounds, Selby was hit with an average of only two punches a minute. Due to Selby’s sheer size, the 27-year-old has sometimes been guilty of holding his feet, walking opponents down and taking too many punches in the process but his defence against Brunker was almost faultless. The punch stats, or lack of in Brunker’s case, made for impressive reading from a Welsh point of view, especially since the Aussie applied constant, albeit ineffective, pressure right from the first bell. A left hook to the body eventually broke Brunker down and the referee soon jumped in to end the action when Selby followed up the attack. The win secured Selby, by now the father of a baby girl, a shot at history and guaranteed him BoxingWales’s ‘Professional Fighter of the Year’ award for the second time in a row. Notable mentions: Liam Williams, Dai Davies Previous winners: 2013, Lee Selby. 2012, Gavin Rees.

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