Updated: Oct 29, 2020
This coming Saturday evening will see former IBF World Featherweight champion ‘Lightning’ Lee Selby (28-2, 9KO) up against Australia’s unbeaten rising star, the ‘Ferocious’ George Kambosos Jr (18-0, 10KO). The two men will meet behind closed doors in a final eliminator with the victor walking away with the lightweight division’s golden ticket, a shot at the undefeated, undisputed, newly crowned king of the division, Teofimo Lopez.
Boxing is a peculiar sport, at times it feels like there is a belt for every occasion – Silver, Diamond, Interim, Mayan and of course the regional, national and continental belts as well– and while there’s a vast array of honours and trinkets on offer, the mountain top for many is a shot at the world title. There is another mountain top for those who dare to dream and it truly is the Everest of boxing, reserved only for the few, the glory of holding all of the marbles simultaneously, to leave not even a crumb for your foes and absolutely no uncertainty as to who is number one, to be undisputed. Having upset the odds defeating Vasyl Lomachenko, Teofimo Lopez ascended Everest and stands proudly as the undisputed lightweight king. But being the king comes at a cost, namely the fact that there’s always someone coming for your crown.
Originally scheduled for May, the intention was that Selby Vs Kambosos Jr. would headline a card with an obvious theme: Welsh fighters, the Welsh capital, Welshman Selby at the top of the bill and an inevitably loud and patriotic crowd roaring their man towards victory. Unfortunately for Selby and his loyal supporters, Covid-19 had other plans for 2020 and put this particular fight in real jeopardy. After some back and forth over purses, locations, and timings the bout is now scheduled for the deafening silence of an empty SSE Arena on the undercard of the eagerly awaited heavyweight matchup of Oleksandr Usyk and Derek Chisora.
Selby beats Burns by decision | Bad Left Hook
Selby comes into this fight off the back of a hard-fought majority decision over Scottish boxing legend and three-weight world champion Ricky Burns. In his second outing in the lightweight category, Selby was tested to the limit as Burns, the seasoned professional and quality operator, brought years of world championship boxing pedigree to the ring to ensure that over the 12 rounds Selby was made to work for what turned out to be a knife-edge decision. The detractors will say that Selby should have made lighter work of Burns. Of course, Burns is a high-quality professional with a depth of boxing experience almost unrivalled by active British boxers, but Burns is deep into what has been a long career with his best days behind him. On the flip side, Selby and those who support him would argue that Kambosos Jr, although six years Selby’s junior and likely to bring more energy and ferocity than Burns, won’t bring anywhere near the experience and craftsmanship that can only be honed over years of battle in the upper echelons of professional boxing.
Fighting out of the corner opposite to Selby will be the Australian boxer nicknamed Ferocious, George Kambosos Jr. No stranger to fighting on the road, Kambosos Jr. boasts an undefeated 18-win resume with 10 of his wins coming by knockout. After starting off his career in his native Australia, Kambosos Jr has picked up his last five wins on the road in Kuala Lumpur, Greece and most recently in the famous Madison Square Garden on the undercard of none other than Teofimo Lopez. Kambosos Jr, with many similarities to Selby’s last fight, comes into this bout off the back of a knife-edge decision as he beat former world champion, Mickey Bey, by split decision. Kambosos Jr. has been vocal about the fact that he plans on stopping Selby and having accumulated 10 knockout victories in 18 fights compared to Selby’s 9 knockouts in 30 fights, it is little surprise that Kambosos Jr is confident that if he can find the target he has the power needed to ensure the judge’s scorecards aren’t needed.
Australia's ferocious fighter | Neos Kosmos
The mantra from Eddie Hearn going into Fight Camp was “no easy fights” and for both men involved it appears as though the same standard applies here as well. In one corner, Selby is considered the more intelligent, poised and more defensively astute. In the other corner, we have Kambosos Jr who will make his walk to the ring as the younger, hungrier and more dangerous puncher of the two. What remains are the questions that can only be answered on the night: Will Selby be able to stave off the attacks of the determined Aussie? Will Kambosos Jr. be able to find those meaningful punches on the elusive, slick Welshman? How will the enforced 12-month lay-off impact the older of the two? Kambosos Jr. is relatively untested, will this be a test too tough?
The golden ticket is the prize and while neither man would admit to looking past their opponent, surely it is impossible to not be distracted by the shot at glory that glistens on the other side of this fight. Boldly inscribed on the tattooed back of Kambosos Jr. are the words “Never retreat. Never surrender” which coincidentally may well be his gameplan on the night. In their ePress Conference in April, Kambosos Jr exclaimed confidently “the man [Selby] has had his time and you can’t stop a young bull!”, the question though may not be whether Selby can stop the bull but whether or not the bull can catch the matador?
The bookmakers can't split them, but thankfully I've been able to track down a few familiar fighters and writers prepared to put their necks on the line and give us their thoughts and predictions for how this fight goes down. A special thank you to those fighters and writers for their willingness to contribute:
Chris Jenkins (@ChrisRokn), British Welterweight Champion - Selby UD. Selby is fighting an undefeated opponent and while I don't know as much about him, what I do know is that with Selby moving up he isn't killing himself to make the weight. I just feel that Selby having been there, done it and being the world champion that he was he's going to be able to build on his experience from before. I'm confident that Selby is going to win, I don't think he'll stop the fella, but I think it will be a wide points decision. Selby to win.
Jay Harris (@jayharris19), WBC Flyweight world title contender - Selby win. I'm going for Lee Selby to win. Lee has a lot of class and seems more determined than ever. I'm really looking forward to it!
Morgan Jones (@morganjonesko), Welsh Super Middleweight Champion - Selby win. My money will always be on Lee Selby, either way.
Joshua John (@JJoshuaJohn), British Youth Champion - Selby win.
Obviously, I see Lee winning. To be honest, I don’t know so much about Kambosos Jr but I know Lee is one of the fittest guys I’ve ever met and he works very hard. So, I believe Lee will win the fight Saturday.
Kambosos Jr has plenty of positives to keep Selby on his toes. The visitor is aggressive, has fast hands, especially his speedy right uppercut, and likes to engage. Although undoubtedly keen, I believe he’s too green at this stage of his career. There were glimpses of limitations in his split decision win against an ageing Mickey Bey and that will have given Selby ideas to exploit. The Welshman is significantly more experienced with 19 of his last 20 fights scheduled for the full 12 rounds. On the other hand, Kambosos Jr has had four scheduled 12 rounders and the most recent of those was nearly four years ago. I think Selby’s size may surprise Kambosos Jr now that the shackles of the scales have been loosened and it will be interesting if he can gradually turn the screw and persuade Kambosos Jr to reverse down the stretch. Coupled with Selby’s vast experience, I expect him to stay a step or two ahead and earn a unanimous decision. Occupying the ‘home’ corner could, rightly or wrongly, also make a difference if Kambosos Jr pushes it closer than I expect.
Welsh Boxing Annual 2019-20 available on Amazon
Eliot Stott (@EliotStott1), COO ESBR - Selby, SD. I question how much Selby has left. Personally, I had him losing against Omar Douglas and he just about got past against a faded Ricky Burns. However, I feel as if he’ll have enough to get past a fairly unproven George Kambosos Jnr. SD to Selby.
Elliott Grigg (@elliottgrigg), ESBR Senior Writer– Selby, UD. Selby has remodelled himself as a legitimate world title contender at lightweight, having been brutalised into moving up from feather by a combination of a-too-tough-a-weight-cut and Josh Warrington. He retains the fluid boxing skill he displayed at the lighter weight, only now he looks more comfortable. Never a renowned knockout artist, any increases or diminishments in punch power appear academic. Kambosos doesn't appear overly destructive, either, and he has not been in with the same class of opposition as Selby. That said, he did outwit a (likely) 'roided-up' Mickey Bey last December, and so deserves credit for that. All in all, I believe Selby will have too much guile and will win a wide points victory; though this really is a case of be careful what you wish for, as should he do so, he will earn a mandatory shot at unified champion Teofimo Lopez, whatever sort of prize that may turn out to be.
Greg Doyle (@GND1989), ESBR Writer - Kambosos Jr win.
It’s a difficult fight to call. From what I have seen of Kambosos Jr, I think he may just be too fresh for Selby at this point in his career. Selby will need a Gradovich-Esque performance to win this and I don’t know if he still has that in him at 33.
Date: October 31st 2020
Time: Ring walk approx. 21:00
Venue: SSE Arena, Wembley
Channel: Sky Sports Box Office - £19.95 (UK) / DAZN (USA)