Undefeated Russian IBF 126lb champion Evgeny Gradovich (19-0-1, 9ko) has landed in the UK ahead of his 5th title defence Saturday night – against slick Welshman Lee Selby (20-1, 8ko) – training at Mickey Helliet’s Limehouse Marina gym ahead of open workouts today.
Gradovich, who held on to his belt by way of a draw last time out in November on the Crawford-Beltran under card, has had the title since upsetting Australian Billy Dib back in March 2013 – and while not having boxed as yet in 2015, the IBF have just announced him their “Fighter Of The Year” – a fantastic psychological boost for him, yet the Russian will certainly be up against it in facing Selby, who – thanks to his technical proficiency and silky skills, is known as the “Welsh Mayweather.”
It would appear the Robert Garcia trained Russian – who is certainly aggressive, yet rather pedestrian in comparison to the mobile Selby – is unfazed about the task ahead, viewing Saturday’s fight as just another defence. He told Sky Sports;
“He’ll (Selby) want to be at his best because he is the home fighter but for me it does not matter where I fight because I am the champion. It’s a good opportunity for me to box in England for the first time and I am really looking forward to the challenge.”
“I love being world champion. It’s the best feeling in the world and I want to keep that feeling going. The camp has been good, I’ve been working hard and I try to do my best. We don’t prepare for a special fight as we always prepare well.”
“I am not going to let him take that title from me. I worked too hard to get it and even harder to keep it.”
Gradovich v Selby features as part of Matchroom’s ‘Rule Brittania’ PPV show from London this Saturday.