IBF featherweight titlist Lee Selby. Photo credit: Action Images
Former IBF featherweight titleholder Lee Selby will make his lightweight debut against Omar Douglas as chief support to the James DeGale-Chris Eubank Jr. super middleweight showdown at the O2 Arena, London, on Saturday.
The last time we saw Selby in action he lost his IBF 126-pound title to Josh Warrington in May 2018. The 32-year-old Welshman has endured a long battle with the scales and decided to make the bold move of stepping up not one but two weight divisions.
“I think I’ll be a better fighter at lightweight,” Selby told The Ring. “It’s not like I’m eating more to get up to lightweight and I’m putting on weight, it’s still a task getting down to the lightweight limit but it’s more of a natural weight for me and I should perform better.
“Leading up to the fight it’s always the same, I’m fit and strong., it’s just those last couple of weeks. This time (at featherweight) is when I really struggle, but this time around I have been eating, I haven’t missed a meal. I feel a lot more comfortable. Making featherweight I had to stop sparring two, maybe three weeks out because I had no energy from making the weight.”
He feels that the added weight will make him more explosive.
“In the gym when I catch them clean I hurt them, whereas when I was boxing at featherweight the last few fights, I was hitting them and they were walking through the shots,” Selby revealed. “When I was making the weight more comfortable I was stopping them and knocking out good fighters out. There should be a lot more authority in my shots and I should generally be an all-round better fighter.”
Douglas, who hails from Wilmington, Delaware, turned professional in 2011 after a solid amateur career which included five Pennsylvania Golden Gloves titles. The 28-year-old boxer-puncher has scored good wins over the likes of Frank De Alba (MD 10), Alexei Collardo (TKO 7) and most recently Haskell Rhodes (UD 8).
However, Douglas dropped unanimous decisions to Javier Fortuna and Edner Cherry in 2017 and 2018 respectively, although he has regrouped with two straight wins. This will be his first fight outside of the U.S.
“I don’t know too much about him,” admitted Selby. “I looked on YouTube to check his style, I don’t really study the fights. He looks to be a good puncher, he hasn’t really boxed at a high level but he’s stopped most of his opponents in the first three rounds. He’s got a good left hook, he looks solid, a bit of a pressure-fighter who boxes as well on the front foot.”
Selby could have taken a soft touch for his first fight in a new weight class but wanted to test himself.
“Yeah, that’s the idea, some people comeback to a nice easy win to just get the ball rolling again,” he said. “I want to come back in a proper fight, hopefully win it and be ranked high up in the lightweight division.”
As usual Selby spend time training in the West Coast of America but returned to the U.K. to spar Warrington’s next opponent, Kid Galahad.
Selby, who turned 32 last week says he still feels like a teenager, despite his partner telling him he’s not Peter Pan.
“I’m 32 but I’m still the same as when I was 15, I still feel like a kid,” laughed Selby. “I look in the mirror, I still see a kid.
“I was on about it to my missus the other day. I said, ‘I’m 32 but I’m like a 15-year-old’ and she said, ‘I don’t know what you see but you’re getting on.’ I just don’t see it and don’t feel it, I’m like a youngster.”
Selby hopes this move to 135 pounds will revitalize his career.
“The lightweight division is good,” he said. “I was hanging about for the big fights at featherweight. I’d done the deal where if I’d won the Warrington fight I’d fight (Carl) Frampton but it didn’t work out. There’s a lot of options, I’ll fight anybody, whoever my manager puts in front of me.”
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright
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