Sanigar: Andrew Selby can be the best in Welsh history

Sanigar: Andrew Selby can be the best in Welsh history

Andrew Selby can be the best in the history of Welsh boxing, according to Jamie Sanigar.

Selby called time on his career in the vest earlier this year to make his professional debut on Friday and the 26-year-old will co-headline Sanigar Events’ ‘Past Present Future’ show at the Newport Centre.

Many regard Selby as the best Welsh amateur of all time, having made history by winning numerous medals on the international stage and now the super-flyweight is planning to do it in the paid code, too.

“I think he could be the best professional in the history of Welsh boxing. I believe so because he’s proven it in the amateurs but listen, there’s a long way to go,” said Sanigar. “There have been some great, great Welsh fighters. It’s a long, tough journey but he’s got the talent, the type you can’t teach.”

Sanigar, who will manage the prospect, believes that Andrew can emulate his elder sibling Lee Selby by collecting domestic and world honours but it will only take him three years to reach the top levels of the sport.

He said: “I would say Andrew can get to world level in about half of the time, three years or so. He’s making his proper debut this week but he was nine wins and one loss in the WSB [World Series of Boxing], only losing because of a cut.

“So, I really class Andrew as a 10-0 prospect already, even though he’s making his debut. Obviously, he has his amateur pedigree in the more traditional format, too. I think within 10 fights and about two years, he’ll be boxing for major domestic titles.”

Most prospects, even including the likes of Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell, start the journey against opponents with lots of losses on his record. However, the switch-hitting Selby will start his professional career in a six round contest against Tanzania’s Haji Juma (15-7-5, 7KO), an experienced operator who once contested a WBO regional strap.

Sanigar said: “I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time. I didn’t want to waste our time, Andrew’s time or the fans’ time. We’ve just got to get on with things. He’s been boxing top-level fighters for the last seven or eight years, so why drop him down to box, no disrespect, a journeyman?

“It’s no benefit to anyone, he’s boxed on big occasions in front of big crowds. Yes, it’ll be a bit different but he’s 27 at Christmas, so we need to get cracking. By the time he’s 29, he needs to be boxing in the massive fights for world titles against the best in the UK and America. We do need to get our skates on but at the same time, it’s about progressing him so he’s always learning.”

Selby has prepared for his official debut alongside Lee, the current IBF world featherweight champion. Earlier this month, the pair spent two weeks in America ahead of Lee’s successful title defence against Fernando Montiel and there are plans for Andrew to get his stateside spotlight soon enough.

Sanigar said: “There was an opportunity for Andrew to fight on the same show as Lee but we felt like it was a lot of pressure on the camp and training team. It was still a great learning experience though, he got to spar out there and see all the back stage stuff.

“Every fighter wants to end up in America and Andrew’s got a better chance of getting there than most. In the last few months, he’s shown a great work ethic in the gym. Everybody knows Lee Selby works to the highest level of training and Andrew’s now understood what it takes. With his hard work and his talent, there’s no reason he can’t go all the way.”

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