This Saturday night IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby (26-1, 9KOs) defends his title against crowd favourite Josh Warrington (26-0, 6KOs) in front of 38,000 fans at Elland Road, Leeds, England.
Leeds United fan Warrington sees his dream come true of fighting in front of his fans at his beloved football club. The Yorkshire man adds the cherry on the cake with favourite band Kaiser Chiefs playing his track ‘I Predict a Riot’ live while entering the ring accompanied by Leeds United football hero Lucas Radebe.
Amongst the live entertainment there will be some real business going on inside the ring between two highly ranked 126 pounders. The champion is currently ranked at No.2 in Britain and No.6 in the world with his challenger ranked at No.3 domestically and No.7 in the world making this fight delicately poised.
Josh Warrington has fought 193 rounds in 26 bouts with a knockout ratio of 23% and a combined opponent record of 348-322-29.
The 27-year-old has a decent CV with solid victories over Denis Ceylon who he stopped in 10 rounds and a controversial win over Kiko Martinez in his last two fights.
Earlier in his career he stopped Lee Selby conquerer Samir Mouneimne, Rendall Munroe and Patrick Hyland. Other credible victories came against Martin Lindsay, Joel Brunker and Japan’s Hisashi Amagusa.
IBF champion Lee Selby turned pro a year earlier than Warrington in 2008 and has accumulated 207 rounds in 27 fights with a 33% knockout ratio.
The Welshman has a combined opponent record of 439-397-32 but he did face journeyman legend Peter Buckley 31-255-12 in only his second pro fright. Taking that into consideration his combined record makes for excellent reading of 408-142-20.
The 31-year-old has an accomplished CV fighting 8 undefeated fighters most notably two Brits Stephen Smith and Ryan Walsh plus Australian Joe Brunker, Romanian Viorel Simion and and Eduardo Ramirez in his last bout.
Selby captured the IBF title three years ago when the beat undefeated Russian Evgeny Gradovich by technical decision. In his five defences since he has convincingly defeated 4 opponents by unanimous decision.
Warrington stands at 5’ 7” which is an inch and a half shorter than Selby plus the Bary-born fighter has a longer reach by 3-inches. This will give Selby a slight advantage because he is a slick outside fighter. The Leeds man has a come forward style with a great engine.
There is no love loss between these two so Warrington will need to come flying out of the blocks and swamp the champion in hope of unsettling his rhythm.
With the crowd behind the fan favourite he will need to be controlled and use the support to his advantage. The trouble is Selby has ice running through his veins so he will not be overwhelmed by the atmosphere. We are talking about a guy that fought the day after his mother’s passing. 30 odd thousand screaming football fans will not faze him and he will be calm and collected.
The home-fighter has always been a step behind Selby in his career and I expect the same in the ring on Saturday night. Warrington has the perfect style for Selby and he will be too skilful, too sharpe and too head strong to fall into any traps. I am going for the Welshman to win unanimously or maybe even a late stoppage due to a frustrated Warrington going for broke.
The Royal Wedding will take place on Saturday afternoon, then the FA Cup final in the late evening before a lively night of boxing in Leeds. Enjoy your day fight fans