“Slinky” Lee Selby marked his American debut with a unanimous point’s victory over Fernando Montiel in Arizona.
It was the 28 yr old’s first defence of his IBF Featherweight title – which he ripped off Russian Evgeny Gradovich back in May this year.
It wasn’t plain sailing for the Welshman in parts – he overcame a tricky opponent to take a 119-109, 118-110 and 116-112 unanimous decision.
Selby started strong in the opening round, utilising his superior reach with stiff jabs complimented by an array of heavy hooks.
The champion shook Montiel in the third with a big right hand – which encouraged the rugged Mexican to walk Selby down aggressively.
Selby suffered a cut in the sixth above his right eye as Montiel continued to apply pressure & not allow the champion time to pick his shots.
In the eighth Slinky wore the challenger down with sharp shots – as the 36 yr old lost some intensity as we headed towards the championship rounds.
Montiel despite a drop in tempo continued to stalk Selby until the final bell – but the Welshman’s accuracy over the duration was far superior to his foes.
In his post-fight comments, Selby believes he has much more to show the American audiences in the future:
“My jab, reach and speed were my biggest advantages tonight,” he said. “That was how I got the win.”
“All the cuts I’ve had in my career have come against shorter fighters like [Montiel]. When I got cut tonight in the sixth round it was the same thing. I caught a head butt.
“I was honestly disappointed in my performance tonight. I got the win and it was a great feeling to get my first one on US soil, but the fans didn’t see me at my best, and a big part of that was Montiel’s experience. He’s a great fighter.”
CLEVERLY: BEATING FONFARA WOULD BE MY CAREER-BEST
Nathan Cleverly says beating Andrzej Fonfara will be the biggest win of his career as the clash at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago on Friday night, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on Spike in the US.
Cleverly is back at Light Heavyweight to face the Chicago-based Pole, who is defending the WBC International title he won with a ninth round stoppage against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in California in April.
Both men told today’s press conference that they expect the toughest fight of their careers, with the winner of the bout in pole position to move onto fight for World honours – and Cleverly reiterated his desire to return to the top of the pile in the division having landed the WBO World title in 2010 and successfully defending it five times.
“I believe that this is the right move and the right fight for me,” said Cleverly. “There were other options on the table, but I chose to come to America to face Fonfara. I think that this is a great opportunity for me – if I can beat Fonfara we are in the big league then, so this is the most important night of my career. I belong at Light Heavyweight, I feel good and confident and I expect to win.
“Fonfara is young, fresh, he has the momentum from his win over Chavez Jr, and he pushed Adonis Stevenson all the way, so I know that it’s tough but I am ready for it. He has a good resume and he’s done well against some good fighters, but if the best of me turns up on Friday night and I am firing on all cylinders, I think I have too much for him. I am under no illusions that it is a tough fight, but I think that I have too much.
“I’m relatively young in boxing terms, but I have no goals beyond beating Fonfara. My vision is on him only because this is a really big fight, an acid test.
“Fonfara is in his hometown and he’s the favourite – I can understand that, but it’s good, it takes the pressure off, I don’t have to sell this fight to the media or do extra stuff like I would if it had been in Cardiff, I am just focussed on executing the plan that we believe will get the win.”
EVANS: I WAS READY TO QUIT BEFORE EGGINGTON SHOT
Dale Evans was on the verge of quitting boxing – now he has the chance to rip the British and Commonwealth Welterweight titles from Sam Eggington when they clash at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.
Evans holds a win over Eggington when the pair went hell for leather in the quarter finals of Prizefighter in January 2013. The Welshman was edged out of the final in Wolverhampton that night by Glenn Foot – and since then the careers of the quarter-finalists have gone in very different directions.
Eggington landed a second crack at Prizefighter and another impressive showing led to a deal with Matchroom Boxing and a run of fights that saw him land the titles he defends on Saturday.
For Evans, opportunities were thin on the ground, and with his demanding job coupled with a long trip to train with Gary Lockett – the 23 year old was questioning his future before the chance to replace Frankie Gavin in Saturday’s main event came up.
“I was delighted when I got the call for this fight,” said Evans. “I had had such bad luck with fights over the past few months being cancelled, dates being moved and struggling to get anything. A couple of weeks before this call came I was considering knocking boxing on the head for good. I wasn’t happy anymore and I wasn’t getting anything out of it.
“I wasn’t as active as I would like to be and financially I didn’t feel I was getting anything out of it. I live in Carmarthen and I train in Cardiff with Gary, which is about a 150-mile round trip that I make twice a week. I take two days off work to train and with fuel and two days’ wages cut I am spending money to try and fulfil my boxing career but I am not getting anything back when I do fight because I have been boxing on small bills.
“This is a fight I couldn’t turn down, it is potentially life-changing. Gary didn’t even ask me if I wanted the fight, he knew this is what I train for and what I want. I wanted big fights to get me into this position so when it was offered to me I wasn’t going to turn it down.
“A lot of people have mentioned that I have beaten Sam before. I have a lot of respect for Sam, he is a brilliant fighter and he is a nice guy. You can’t base a 12-round title fight over a three-round win in Prizefighter. He was a lot younger and he has since been in with some good opposition and finished them in style. It isn’t something I am taking confidence off because I don’t think you can relate or compare a three-round fight to a 12-round fight.
“We have been working on a few game plans and we know what Sam is about. He is an intelligent fighter but with the time-scale we have had, ten days, we have had to go 100mph for a week and a half and I am as ready as I have ever been.”
Evans’ clash with Eggington is part of a huge night of action in Birmingham as Matthew Macklin returns to Super Welterweight and takes on Jason Welborn for the vacant WBC International title.
Kal Yafai meets Jason Cunningham for the vacant British Super Flyweight title and Kal’s unbeaten younger brother Gamal faces the most important fight of his blossoming career in a final eliminator for the Commonwealth Super Bantamweight title against Nasibu Ramadhani.
The Midlands Area title is on the line between Welterweights Rob Hunt and Karl Wiggins, and unbeaten local talents Cori Gibbs, Zach Parker, Dan Breeze, Michael Rooney and Jordan Cooke all taste action.
Tickets are on sale from the Barclaycard Arena website www.barclaycardarena.co.uk or by calling 0844 338 8000 – with tickets priced £40, £60 and £100. VIP tickets priced at £200 are available exclusively from Matchroom Boxing at www.matchroomboxing.com and on 01277 359900.
Tickets for October 17 are also available from http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/ – StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing.