Home Boxing News Destiny awaits for Lee Selby against Evgeny Gradovich

Destiny awaits for Lee Selby against Evgeny Gradovich

Lee Selby

On May 30th, 2015, at the O2 Arena, Greenwich, London, Lee Selby challenges Evgeny Gradovich for the IBF featherweight championship of the World.

28-year-old Lee Selby of Barry, has trained for years at the St. Joseph’s Gym in Newport, South Wales, under the guidance of trainer Tony Borg – who has helped nurture the talent and ability, that we see today. The years of blood, sweat, commitment and dreams finally get the opportunity to seize the highest award in boxing, becoming Champion of the World, this Saturday.

Opportunity is one thing but achieving is another. Many talented fighters from the UK have tried and failed; Kirkland Laing, Herol Graham and Wales’ own Colin Jones have had the ability but have been denied. Boxing is not always about the best coming out on top, the sport has no sympathy for
dreams. Sometimes brute force, will, work-rate can overcome skills. At the highest level, of the sport, winning is everything.

Selby (20-1, 8 KOs), has done things the traditional route and impressively; Welsh, Celtic, British, Commonwealth and European titles all collected. Eliminator and Final Eliminator passed. Each hurdle accomplished on the way to the destination. An orthodox fighter, who can switch stance seamlessly, moves with ease and punches that flow; whether on the attack or counter-punching. The twelve round distance has been done and the tank still has energy to burn. Never been floored and oozes power. Yet, we are told that we have not seen the best, that the boxer can produce. On Saturday night, we will surely get more than glimpses.

In IBF champion, Evgeny Gradovich of Igrim, Russia, we have a fighter that does not know defeat. Trained out of Robert Garcia’s heralded gym in Oxnard, California, USA and known by the name El Ruso Mexicano (The Mexican Russian), he comes forward and he keeps coming, no let-up. The
28-year-old is an orthodox fighter with an engine, pure perpetual motion and if you stop still he will throw punch after punch after punch.

His last fight is the only statistical blemish on his record, a draw against undefeated Puerto Rican Jayson Valez, but that should have been another ‘W’ in the column for the Russian. He’s twice beaten the skilful Australian Billy Dib, taking the title from him, after only four weeks notice, then stopping him in nine rounds in the return. Former European champion, Alexander Miskirtchian and Argentine Mauricio Javier Munoz have both unsuccessfully tried to take Gradovich’s title. Lee Selby is defence number five, for a man who has grown into the role of champion, since March 2013.

Gradovich (19-0-1, 9 KOs), will have no problem fighting in the UK. He is a Russian, who made his professional debut in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. He’s fought the majority of his contests in the US, though has travelled to Macau, China to defend his IBF belt on three occasions. His biggest problem won’t be the crowd but the skilled operator in the opposing corner.

Selby, covered every aspect in climbing the rankings and the plan has worked perfectly, he has reached his destination. On Saturday night, I fully expect him to overcome the complexities of Gradovich’s lunging, high-volume style. Timing is key in boxing, if you catch the opponent right, on the way in, then even the best chin can crumble. Gradovich, is used to getting hit, he’ll take shots to close the gap and is ungainly once inside but he doesn’t allow you breathing space. Selby, on the other hand, can punch from angles, use great footwork and can create space from nothing. This will be a compelling contest, where we will see whose style wins through.

Lee Selby has all the tools to become the IBF champion, and against a very good champion, in a division stacked with quality. On Saturday night the small country of Wales will add another World champion, to it’s fabled history. Destiny awaits Lee Selby.

A list of past Welsh World Champions
Percy Jones                  (Flyweight)
Freddie Welsh     (Lightweight)
Jimmy Wilde     (Flyweight)
Howard Winstone     (Featherweight)
Steve Robinson     (Featherweight )
Robbie Regan     (Bantamweight)
Joe Calzaghe     (Super-Middleweight)
Barry Jones     (Super-Featherweight)
Enzo Maccarinelli     (Cruiserweight)
Gavin Rees     (Light-Welterweight)
Nathan Cleverly           (Light-Heavyweight)