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Matchroom Boxing outbid DiBella Entertainment to stage the IBF eliminator

Steve Wellings

Steve is an experienced boxing writer and author. He has been writing about boxing for over 12 years and has attended over 150 shows. He has written and published nine books on the sport. He is the host on a boxing podcast called Boxing Asylum.

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The on-off saga of the Lee Selby-George Kambosos Jr contest looks like it will finally be decided after Matchroom Boxing won the purse bids to stage the IBF eliminator. Not usually one for winning a purse bid, promoter Eddie Hearn secured the options with a successful submission of just over $277,000, edging out Kambosos’ promoter Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment who bid $260,000.

IBF rules regarding purse bids for eliminators means that Kambosos (ranked #3) will receive the higher portion of a 60/40 split than Selby (ranked #4).

Initially the fight was set for May 9 in Cardiff, before being optimistically rescheduled for early July. As the pandemic took hold, it was once again shelved and ended up back in a purse bid situation after Kambosos’ team rejected proposed changes to the original deal that would’ve potentially diminished their man’s agreed purse.

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Despite not having fought at the same level as his opponent, Aussie Kambosos has retained an air of supreme confidence throughout the build-up. The Greek-Australian has been based in Miami, Florida of late, taking advantage of a high-quality coaching setup and some top-notch sparring. Current and former world champions, prospects and contenders are brought in for 12 round sparring sessions.

As an IBF lightweight title eliminator, the prize for winning could not be higher as the victor will have half an eye on Vasyl Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez who box for Lopez’s IBF strap in October. Should Lomachenko win he may opt to seek bigger names rather than make defences so a vacant title opportunity appears more realistic.

After plying his trade back at home, top American promoter Lou DiBella saw the potential in Kambosos and signed him up. In his most recent outing things went tougher than expected as veteran Mickey Bey gave George plenty of issues in his first serious career step-up last December.

Lee Selby, meanwhile, won the IBF belt down at 126 pounds before losing the title to Leeds man Josh Warrington. Notoriously tight at the weight, Selby moved up to 135 pounds and has enjoyed moderate joy in that new division.

The Barry native is talented but always finds a way to leave fights hanging in the balance and will need to secure rounds decisively. This world-level clash is probably a 50-50 affair. Selby is more experienced and proven at a decent level. Kambosos is hungry and has less miles on the clock.

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