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Lee Selby hoping to get early lead against Gradovich, and then sit on the lead

selby45By Scott Gilfoid: #1 IBF Lee Selby (20-1, 8 KOs) is hoping he can jump out to an early lead on Saturday night in his fight against IBF featherweight champion Evgeny Gradovich (19-0-1, 9 KOs) at the O2 Arena in London, UK.

Selby, 28, wants to put Gradovich in the position where he’ll need to rally and will literally need a KO for him to get the victory. Selby thinks he can put Gradovich into an impossible position if he can win the first seven rounds, because then Gradovich, who isn’t a big puncher, would need to be able to score a knockout for him to win.

Selby would then play keep away for the last five rounds to preserve his victory.

Selby notes that Gradovich’s last opponent Jayson Velez was able to get off to a quick start against him last November in winning the first four rounds. Gradovich then came storming back to seemingly win the last eight rounds of the fight, but the judges still gave Velez a draw out of the fight.

Selby, and many boxing fans, felt that Gradovich had done enough to deserve the victory. The fact that they didn’t give Gradovich the win over the arguably more popular Velez only wound up making themselves and Velez look bad because the fans had spoken. They clearly saw Gradovich as the better guy in the fight.

“It would be nice to get an early lead. If I can win the first seven rounds he’s going to have to knock me out to win and I’ll be well ahead and he’ll start making mistakes and fall into shots himself,” Selby said via

I don’t see Gradovich starting slow in this fight. Selby doesn’t have the punching power that Velez had going for him. He can’t do what Velez was able to do early on against Gradovich because if he brawl with Gradovich, he’s going to get punished and likely stopped in short order. Gradovich is going to put a heck of a lot of pressure on Selby, and force him to brawl.

I just hope for the sake of fans that Selby doesn’t clinch a lot like he sometimes does because that would be so ugly to watch. We don’t need Selby trying to stall out Gradovich each time he tries to get in close to work because it would be very boring to watch, and it wouldn’t prove anything. That’s why I hope Selby keeps it clean. If he doesn’t, then I hope the referee steps in and takes off points from Selby so that he’ll fight without holding.

“I’m glad it’s in the U.K. Hopefully if it’s close the judges favor me being the home fighter because I know if it was out in Russia and it was a close fight that I was winning they’d definitely give it to Gradovich,” Selby said.

Oh man, I hope we don’t see a controversial decision where the wrong guy gets his hand raised in this fight, be it Gradovich or Selby. The last thing we need is the judges messing up another fight with decision that makes no sense at all. We just saw that last Saturday with James DeGale being given a win over Andre Dirrell in a fight where DeGale appeared to lose 8 of the 12 rounds.

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