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IBF Champ Lee Selby faces tricky US title defence

By Matt Plumridge: IBF featherweight belt holder Lee Selby (21-1, 8 KOs) is set for his US debut when he takes on former three-weight world champion Fernando Montiel (54-4-2, 39 KOs) in the latest installment of the PBC boxing series this coming Wednesday at the Gila River Arena, in Glendale, Arizona.

Selby, who beat IBF Fighter of the Year Evgeny Gradovich to take the crown in May, has been keen to match his fighting talk with his actual fights when stating that he was only keen on being involved in tough defences in order to establish himself as a top level world champion.

In taking on Montiel, who holds a formidable 54-4-2 record (39 early) and has only been stopped by a peak Nonito Donaire, he is certainly proving as good as his word and in fighting away from home for the first time and on a prime time double bill (Devon Alexander v Aaron Martinez making up the other half) is set for a break out performance.

To my eyes, Selby has the tools required to achieve his lofty aims. He is smart and slick and his defence ability has earned him the nickname the Welsh Mayweather. Power may look in short supply – of his 21 wins he has just 8 KO’s – but closer examination of his record suggests that his improving skill set is increasing his potency at world level, with only 4 of his last 12 opponents making it through to the final bell.

Moreover he is a genuine dedicated professional boxer – some of his British counterparts are known for being less than strict in between fights – but Selby is not in that category and his recent impressive displays are partly down to this hard working regime.

If he can take and break the ageing former champ, then some great title match ups await. Top of the shop would be Nicholas Walters, but with Leo Santa Cruz stepping up in weight and Russell, Lomachenko and Mares all enjoying improving profiles, plenty of big money and winnable options lay ahead for the smooth and talented Selby.

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