IBF 126 lb champion Lee Selby, is just one of the talented fighters helping to lead the British influx in America, and the unassuming Welshman is looking forward to proving exactly what all the fuss is about when he fights Mexican veteran Fernando Montiel on Wednesday night.
The latest of Al Haymon’s British signings – that began with Amir Khan and now include Carl Frampton and James DeGale – won his belt in style back in May, defeating current IBF fighter of the Year, Evgeny Gradovich, and is pushing on to the enormous shop window of US network TV in a bid to further bolster his career.
“[This fight] is a bit of a gamble,” Selby said. “But I didn’t want to be like most other fighters who have an easy first defence against some unknown on home turf.
“Back in the UK I’m sort of like a star. Every boxing fan knows me; out here, not so much. I want to be a worldwide star and fighting in America gives me the opportunity to do that.”
It is true that former 3 weight champ, Montiel, will be the smaller – and perhaps crucially, older -fighter on the night, though that’s not to say this fight is anywhere near a formality, such is the experience, ringcraft – and also the momentum of an 8 fight win streak- the 36 year old Mexican brings with him.
“He’s got bags of experience, by far the most experienced fighter I’ve boxed and he could be the best even if he is past his prime. He mixes it up, boxes off the back foot, [so] I’m expecting a tough fight,” Selby added.
The fight will air on ESPN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK, from 2am GMT.
Victory over Montiel hopefully propels the Barry Island fighter one step nearer to a unification with fellow Haymon fighter – and new WBA 126 lb champ, Leo Santa Cruz sometime next year.