Special Andrew Selby makes more history with thrilling British title victory

Special Andrew Selby makes more history with thrilling British title victory

Barry Town’s Andrew ‘AC Superstar’ Selby (5-0, 3KO) made history by becoming the British flyweight champion in a dominating Unanimous Decision win over a game Louis Norman (11-2-1, 2KO).

In the Chief Support for Cyclone Promotions’ debut show in Wales, the three judges scored the contest at the Ice Arena in favour of Selby courtesy of wide 120-109, 120-109 and 119-110 scorecards.

The achievement is both the fewest amount of fights it has taken a Welshman to win a British title and the soonest a Welshman has done it from their debut – in this case, seven months.

Prior to the contest, Norman stated his intention to mirror Selby’s unorthodox switch-hitting style and he stayed true to his word, circling the ring from the opening bell. Selby set off on the chase, hardly ever letting a metre of space come between the pair.

In an attempt to slow Norman’s retreat in the second round, Selby began jabbing to the body and it caused the visitor to spend more time on the ropes. Sensing it, Selby sped up his approach and rushed Norman in to making mistakes, then rocking his head backwards.

Fully in his grove and having caused the crowd to erupt, Selby even began talking and taunting Norman – a reversal of his usually shy persona. The way Selby appeared to thrive on the occasion was a stark contrast to his last appearance in the capital, when a Chinese representative outpointed him in 2010.

By the end of the third round, the left side of Norman’s face began to swell and it was evident Selby was making a mark. Under the instruction of St Joseph Boxing Club’s head coach Tony Borg, Selby sat down on his backhand and attempted to make a bigger impact with single shots, in between intense flurries.

A snappy straight right to start the fifth round sickened observers and sent Norman in to survival mode for the rest of the round. He completed laps of the ring in a gutsy effort to evade Selby and drag him in to the later rounds of the fight but it was a difficult task to complete.

The Welshman stuck to him like glue and became nasty, smiling with pleasure at the punishment he was dishing out. Such was Selby’s dominance, he even had the audacity to leave his chin in the air and let Norman swing for it, skillfully ducking and diving out of the way six times.

At the start of the second half of the fight, Norman sucked it up and decided to hold his feet, trying to offer an alternative pattern of the fight. While his ambition was admirable, it wasn’t working and he was reminded on the bell to end the seventh, courtesy of a solid left hook from Selby.

It was unclear if Selby took the eighth round off or was feeling the pace, having only fought for as long as six rounds prior to last night, but it was undeniably Norman’s strongest session. As Midlands and English champion, Norman had in contrast been a 10 round distance on four occasions and was again fit for the distance.

The success was short lived and Selby stepped it up in the following ninth round. A left hook counter to the mid-section winded Norman and gave Selby reason to showboat again – he did so amidst landing lead uppercuts with both hands and from both stances.

In the championship rounds, Selby’s left eye was visibly scathed and although in no danger of losing, he did appear to fight safely to protect it – withdrawing from centre ring and trying to walk Norman on to counters. Happy with the forward momentum, Norman waved to his travelling fans to close the 11th but the result was all but a formality at that stage.

Both boxers showed full respect and embraced before the 12th and final session. Despite being clearly tired, they stood toe-to-toe for unbelievably long exchanges until the final bell in one of the best one-sided British title fights in recent memory.

While it wouldn’t have been as big an upset as Norman’s beloved Leicester City becoming Premier League champions, he was a significantly un-fancied due to Selby’s amateur pedigree.

Norman, who was flanked on his ring walk with world title challenger Rendall Munroe, was in his second significant title fight – having lost every round and his English belt to Romford’s Charlie Edwards last year. The 22-year-old clearly learned from that experience and wasn’t overawed by the occasion, bringing his own bus full of fans down the M5.

Selby is widely regarded as the greatest Welsh amateur boxer of all time – a reflection of numerous medals at the European and World Championships, plus appearances at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Many, even including his elder brother and IBF world featherweight champion Lee, have tipped Selby to become one of Wales’ best professional boxers ever, too.