Sugar Selby finally set for the world scene

Sugar Selby finally set for the world scene

‘Sugar’ Lee Selby (20-1, 8KO) can’t remember the last time he lost a round in the ring but moments after arriving on the world scene, addressing the critics that he’s recently received was at the forefront of the Barry boy’s mind. The 27-year-old is just one win away from becoming the third Welsh featherweight to hold a world title and Selby’s proud of the path he’s progressed on, in the footsteps of his heroes Steve Robinson and Howard Winstone. Selby said, “Everything has gone perfect. My manager has mapped out a perfect path, he’s an old school manager and we’ve done it the old school way. We won the Welsh title, Celtic, British, Commonwealth, European, WBC International two times and now a final eliminator for the world title. “[If] I win the world title, I’ve cleaned up every belt up in boxing and then none of those critics can criticise me. I’ve done it all!” While hardcore boxing fans appreciate the ability that Selby uses to coast past all comers, the more casual viewer has disapproved his dominance that leaves game opponents non-competitive… but Selby warns that it could get a lot harder for his foes in the opposite corners. “When I have to step it up, when it really gets hard, that’s when you’ll see the best of me,” he grinned as a satisfied smile leaked across his face while leisurely relaxing on the sofa in the changing room of London’s O2 Arena, hundreds of metres away from where he had just displayed polar opposite personality traits of ruthless and spiteful skill. “When we’re out in America training, he’ll [Chris Sanigar – manager] tell me something to do in the corner between the rounds in sparring and I can go out and do what he’s telling me, the same as in the fights. Some people can’t do it, they’re just one dimensional fighters but I can adjust and listen to instructions.” The price of Selby’s rise to earning the right to fight for a world title hasn’t been come cheap. The strenuous and never ending workouts have cost the family man countless hours with his loved ones, a sacrifice he shows no sign of taking for granted. Selby said, “I’ve been flat out in the gym, constantly. You know, I’m always in the gym. You can count the number of days I have off in a year on your hands. I’m going to give myself a little break now, let my body recover. I won’t balloon up in weight, I look after myself and eat nice food, I’ll just relax and go on holiday. “I’ll have a chance to spend time with my new daughter because she’s only three months old and I’ve spent four weeks away in training camps in Spain and America, the rest of the time I’m constantly training. I’ll have time to bond with my daughter because I’ve missed that really. “Now I’ve got houses, mortgages to pay, I’ve got another mouth to feed, girlfriend to look after… hopefully [I’ll] get enough money to look after my old man too.” The last obstacle in Selby’s way on the road to world glory is Russia’s unbeaten Evgeny Gradovich (19-0, 9KO),  a steady if unspectacular pressure fighter but the champion will still take some shifting. Despite not being a native, Gradovich is based in and receives backing from the USA. It’s very likely that the Welshman will have to travel to the other side of the world to realise his dream but he’s undaunted, having been victorious in the away corner on more than one occasion before at domestic title level. “It would be nice to win it at home. Obviously, you get home advantage, don’t have to travel and mess up my diet but at the same time, I like it away, being the opponent, so to say. That brings the best out in me,” said Selby. “When I went up to Liverpool [TKO8 win against Stephen Smith], I was something like 7/1 underdog and 100/1 to pick the round… so, I go out and make a statement. I went to Ireland [UD12 win against Martin Lindsay], I went to the ring and they were calling me all sorts on the way, all sorts of hand gestures and I thought, ‘is it? I’ll show you all now!’ It brings the best out in me. “Going there [America], I’d be the underdog as well. To me, that gives me the advantage. As the favourite, I go in there too confident, take it for granted.” It’s too early to tell where the ring will be but regardless of it’s location, there’s one thing Selby’s sure is set in stone, “I believe I’ll beat Gradovich comfortable,” he says with the same knowing smirk he had earlier dismissed his critics with.  

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