‘Lightening’ Lee Selby is regarded as one of the most naturally talented boxers to come out of the UK in recent times. It wasn’t a surprise when Selby was crowned IBF Featherweight champion in May 2015 and at the time many were predicting big things for the Welshman.
Selby had displayed a spiteful side to compliment his sublime natural ability during his ascent up the featherweight ranks and he produced some highlight reel knockouts along the way. However, not only was his reign as World Champion overshadowed by bouts of inactivity and under par performances in the United States, the crisp punching power he had once displayed seemed to have disappeared with all but one of his five successful title defences ending in points victories.
Rumours of his struggles to make the 126lb limit had circled around the sport for a while and when he stood on the scales to weigh in for his sixth and ultimately final title defence against Josh Warrington in May 2018, it was clear that the weight cut had took its toll on the Welshman. Selby lost his belt on a split decision and there was an overriding feeling that he had done himself a disservice due to the dramatic weight cut needed to get down to 126lb.
In the nine months that have passed since Selby’s maiden defeat as a professional he has been remarkably honest about the weight issues at featherweight claiming that at the height of his struggles he would chew his food but not swallow it, in order to trick his body into thinking it had eaten. Changes were correctly made by Selby and his team and this weekend he returns on the undercard of James Degale vs Chris Eubank jumping up two weight divisions to lightweight, where he takes on American Omar Douglas.
Selby in action
Although the 9lb weight difference doesn’t seem a lot to the outside world it will allow Selby to focus on training specifically for the fight with his opponent rather than a fight with the scales. Selby has appeared a lot happier and more relaxed during fight week and has stated during interviews that he is refreshed and ready to launch a fresh assault on the lightweight division.
As the two opponents came together today the physical difference in Selby was clear for everyone to see. Weighing in at 134.5lbs, Selby looked a world away from the fighter we saw drained and frail nine months ago. At 32, Selby is ready to write the next chapter of his career at a weight much more suited to him. If he can replicate the kind of form that saw he become a world champion, he will be a welcome and dangerous addition to an already stacked division.
Saturday marks the first step into unknown waters for Selby and should he come through, we might be about to see the very best of the man they once labelled the ‘The Welsh Floyd Mayweather’