'Luckless' Selby aiming to move on from difficult year in world title defence

07 November 2017 02:24

Lee Selby will fight to put a heartbreaking year behind him when he makes the latest defence of his IBF featherweight title on December 9.

The 30-year-old has been told that should he succeed at London's Copper Box Arena - against an opponent still to be confirmed - he will next summer fight mandatory challenger Josh Warrington at Leeds' Elland Road.

Thereafter the match-up with Carl Frampton he has long sought, potentially at Belfast's Windsor Park, would become increasingly likely given the Northern Irishman is also working with promoter Frank Warren.

For all that he relishes those prospects, when he returns next month it will be with a heavy heart. Days before his points defeat of Jonathan Victor Barros in July, his mother Frankie had died.

The Selby family had already faced the death of his oldest brother Michael in 2008, after he fell into a river in Weston-super-Mare, and the champion has revealed that grandfather Peter - his "number one fan" - died following a battle with Alzheimer's a week after his mother.

"It's been tough: my grandfather passed away as well, so it's been tough," said the Welshman. "I've still got my focus and my goals and what I want to achieve.

"I haven't had any luck in anything, in boxing, in life in general, so hopefully now my luck is changing.

"He was my number one fan. He didn't come to shows so much as he got older; he got a bit sick so couldn't really follow me around.

"The boxing: that's my gateway from everything. That's when I'm at peace, when I'm spending hours in the gym, that's when my mind's clear. It's when I'm sat around and have time to think? when I'm in the gym I just switch off.

"I try not to get involved when I'm boxing, I try to cut my emotions off and just focus.

"It's almost like I've got a split-personality: when I'm in the ring I'm one person, outside I'm a totally different person."

Selby's options have been strengthened by Frampton losing his world title to Leo Santa Cruz after a period when his successful title defences were largely overlooked.

"I wanted the big fights so I went to America in the hopes of securing a big fight but again, that luck thing kicked in, I didn't get any luck and I didn't secure a big fight," he said.

"I'm not the type of person who gets frustrated. I stay professional, stay in the gym, keep working and I'm confident the big fights will come.

"It's not just Frampton, I just want to be involved in the big fights. I'm world champion, you'd expect people to be calling me out left, right and centre.

"I'm starting to believe (people are avoiding me). I'd say 'Don't be silly, why would they avoid me?' Now I'm starting to believe that, I can't tie down a big fight.

"Frank (Warren) has, apart from myself, the best featherweights in the country, Warrington and Frampton, so those fights are a lot easier to make now."

Source: PA