Andrew Selby stops Haji Juma and starts professional career with a bang

Andrew Selby stops Haji Juma and starts professional career with a bang

By Dewi Powell: Last night, Barry’s Andrew Selby (1-0, 1KO) made the perfect start to his professional career with an impressive knockout of Tanzania’s Haji Juma (15-8-5, 7KO).

The super-flyweight, who was co-headlining Sanigar Events’ ‘Past Present Future’ show, needed less than four rounds to halt Juma at the Newport Centre and start his new chapter. It was Selby’s first fight as a fully fledged professional, having recently ended a decorated amateur career that many believe is the best a Welshman has ever enjoyed.

After 30 seconds of eyeing each other up, ex-Olympian Selby scored knockdown with his first assault of the Eurosport televised encounter. A two fisted flurry shell shocked Haji who fell back on to the bottom rope, before rising quickly with wide eyes, almost unaware of what had sent him sprawling, and staggering across the ring. Selby set his sights on an early ending and bullied Haji from corner to corner, exhaling louder with every exchange.

However, the 26-year-old wasn’t able to find a finishing blow, allowing Haji to survive the opener by the skin of his teeth. Things wouldn’t get much better for Haji in the second stanza. The visitor was caught off balance numerous times, testament to the precision and speed of Selby’s footwork.

The Welshman would naturally switch between orthodox and southpaw stances without hesitation and it understandably bemused Haji, who was struggling to see where the next angle of attack was coming from, swinging clumsily in an attempt to fend off the next wave.

There’s not a lot of Selby’s locker that he hasn’t shown to the boxing world before but few have seen him produce such a sustained period of power punching. It may have been a combination of nervous energy and the feeling that he could get away with such wide hooks against a lesser level of opposition than he’s used to facing at high level amateur tournaments.

Although shorter, Haji would often leave his chin in the air and Selby wasted no time in checking it, most notably with booming left hooks and they made their breakthrough again at the end of the third round. Again Haji was dropped, by double left hooks, and again he survived, although this time it was aided by the bell to end the session. The reigning UBO African flyweight champion, who had only been stopped once in a WBO regional title fight, wasn’t afforded the time to recover in the fourth round, though.

Selby’s pounding counter-punches had slowed down Haji and when he was trapped against the ropes whilst receiving a flush combination, it was referee Reece Carter’s understandable reason to wave the contest off. Selby, who trains with Tony Borg at St Joseph’s Boxing Club in Newport and is managed by Chris and Jamie Sanigar like his IBF world champion brother Lee, doesn’t know when he’ll make his second appearance.

Sanigar Events are co-promoting a show with Hennessy Sport in Bristol on 14 November and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Selby added to the Channel 5 televised show or taken to America as part of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions [PBC] series.

Image by Huw Fairclough.

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