It was a name bestowed him by Boxing News magazine in honour of his silky skills and defensive genius – and last night Lee Selby lived up to the name and more by comprehensively bashing up Evgeny Gradovich – the IBF fighter of the year – and ripping away his 126lb world title in London.
Sadly it was an accidental clash of heads in the 7th that ultimately led to the fight being halted a round later and the scorecards were called for after the ringside doctor ruled Gradovich would be unable to continue.
Scores of 79-73 (twice) and a 80-72 shut out were an accurate reflection of the fight in which the come forward aggression of Gradovich was consistently neutralised by the faster, more mobile Welshman, who was landing with the crisper, cleaner punches – seemingly at will for much of the early going.
Any worries over his engine and ability to work for three minutes a round also appeared to be groundless – and while Gradovich was clearly able to tag and bully Selby at times – the Barry Island man showed an aggression of his own, forcing the Russian on to the back foot for the first time in the fight in the 6th round.
Following the ending, which while unlucky, merely halted the inevitable – Selby stamped his name firmly onto a loaded featherweight division – and has told SkySports of his ambition to chase bigger fights that he believes will bring the best out him. His full potential being something he believes we are yet to see.
“The better the opponent, the better the Lee Selby you will see. Each opponent I’ve been fighting, I’ve been beating with ease. Each level and each fighter I fight, I’m just going to get better and better.”
While many may see WBA champion Nicholas Walters a risky move right now, WBO champion Vasyl Lomachenko and America’s WBC champ Gary Russell Jr are certainly mouth-watering possibilities for the young Brit, who is extremely modest with regards to his place among the division;
“I don’t know about dominating or unifying because there are some great champions. We’ve got Nicholas Walters, Vasyl Lomachenko and Gary Russell Jr. They are all great champions in their own right.”
“But I think I can be IBF champion for a long time and maybe have a unification in a year or two. Luckily enough I am blessed to have these fighters in the featherweight division. It’s one of the best divisions in boxing at the moment, so there are some great fights down the line.”
After last night you would be foolish to think anything other than one of the most prodigious natural talents in British boxing is here to stay for the long haul.
I look forward to the future.