The achievement of Barry Town’s Lee Selby (17-1, 6KO) on Saturday night at London’s 02 Arena marked the man’s full transition from small hall hard worker to big time boxer and he’s an example to all boxers that having it hard can help. By becoming the first Welshman in 18 years to win a Lord Lonsdale British title belt outright to own forever, Selby drew a line under his breakthrough period and he can now climb through another chapter, world level. It’s something Selby has already dipped his toes in having beaten Viorel Simeon in July and when he moves to that level full-time he will benefit having had a good base of competitive championship experience at domestic level – something far too many contenders skip for soft but stylish foreign opposition. To put Selby’s achievements in to perspective, the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) rules at the time of Havard’s history in 19995 stipulated that a champion only had to defend his title twice to win it outright. So, you have to go even further back to find a Welshman to successfully defend his British title three times and it was done by Welsh and Merthyr legend Jonny Owen in 1980. Most observers expressed their feelings that Selby was stale and didn’t have his usual ‘swag’ when defeating Ryan Walsh clearly on points this past weekend. They were right but he wasn’t criticised because he can’t do it, we all know he has it – he was criticised because the expectations he has set in the last two years are huge and show world class potential. What many failed to appreciate is that champions win when they’re not at their best, which Selby did and he only lost a total of seven rounds across the three scorecards! When Selby entered domestic title level, it seemed to be one of the deepest divisions but after he’s cleaned it out, it now looks transparent and shallow. The time to move up in class is now. Chris Sanigar, a respectable traditionalist, is manager of Selby and he has expressed his desire numerous times for Selby to box for the European title. It’s appeared in a few interviews that Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing boss and Selby’s promoter, is less keen and he appears to prefer the WBC sub-title route. This will be because Hearn can get more value for his sanctioning fee money and a kinder ranking for Selby. If Selby was to pursue the vacant European title then he would face the next available contender, Rendall Munroe – a former world title challenger and it was only last year that victory over Munroe helped Scott Quigg secure a world title shot. One thing that must be taken in to consideration by the powers that be is the timescale for a Selby-Munroe fight. The questionably reliable rumours that were circulating before last weekend were that the fight was due to take place on the undercard of George Groves challenge to Carl Froch on November 23rd in Manchester. That would give Selby just seven weeks between bouts and he’d have to go straight back in to training camp. That would be fine for Selby who says he lives his life as a training camp, and he does – it’s enabled him to have four training camps and fights in eight months, but one reason for his slight loss of sharpness in his last two fights may be over-activity. Sometimes a good rest can be as beneficial as a good run. Dewi Powell BoxingWales Editor

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