Selby feels no extra pressure ahead of American debut

Selby feels no extra pressure ahead of American debut

Sugar’ Lee Selby (21-1, 8KO) insists that he’s not feeling any extra pressure ahead of his American debut.

On Wednesday, the new IBF world featherweight champion will make his first defence against former three-weight titlist Fernando Montiel (54-4-2, 39KO) in new territory at Phoenix, Arizona’s Gila River Arena.

Selby will co-headline a Premier Boxing Champions [PBC] show live on ESPN in a bid to launch wider awareness of the 28-year-old and secure unification fights with the 126lb division’s best.

The pressure to make the most of a golden chance, one that few Welshmen have ever received, to be built as the ‘home’ fighter in the States would affect most men, especially one who has come through the small hall shows but Selby, who has often set himself aside from his peers, evidently remains unphased.

“I’ve got to impress, I don’t feel the pressure though. I should do really because it’s a big stage but I can’t say I do,” said Selby exclusively to BoxingWales.com, days before he flew to California to complete training camp.

“I’ve got to look good and I’ve just signed with Al Haymon [the influential advisor behind the PBC movement] to get the big fights. I should feel the pressure but I just don’t, I just get on with it. A fight is a fight and I’ve been fighting for a long time now.”

For 36-year-old Montiel, this is likely to be his last chance of winning a major championship and a defeat at his new weight, where he’s strung together a nine fight winning streak against decent opposition, could bring the curtain down on an illustrious career.

Amidst that adversity, and that few observers few observers expect Montiel to spring an upset, Selby doesn’t expect it to affect Mexican veteran, who is five inches shorter and in the 19th year of a professional career that has until recently been spent in he lower weight classes.

Selby said: “I doubt he [Montiel] will feel any extra pressure either. He has had bloody 60 or so fights of experience. He’s seen it all before, hasn’t he? He was a world champion before I turned pro, when I was still an amateur.

“I’m going to rely on my boxing ability. I don’t think size matters that much because we’re weighing-in at the same weight the day before. It’s irresponsible for me to use my size, instead of my skills. I’ll win because I’m better, not bigger.”

Image by Matchroom Sport.

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