Tuesday, November 29, 2022  |



Lee Selby set to prove he’s not ‘over-hyped’ vs. Joel Brunker

Lee Selby (R) catches Ryan Walsh with a right hand during their Oct. 5, 2013, fight in London. Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images.

Lee Selby (R) catches Ryan Walsh with a right hand during their Oct. 5, 2013, fight in London. Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images.


Lee Selby says fans will “see if I really am a good fighter or I’m over-hyped” in Saturday’s featherweight clash with unbeaten Joel Brunker at the O2 Arena’s Millenium Dome in Greenwich, London.

Coming off a unanimous decision over Romulo Koasicha in May, Selby (19-1, 7 knockouts) will face Brunker (27-0, 15 KOs) in an IBF eliminator for the right to face beltholder Evgeny Gradovich should the titlist get beyond a Nov. 29 defense against Jayson Velez.

“This is the one to see if I really am a good fighter or I’m over-hyped like some people have been saying. I believe that on my day, I can beat anyone,” said Selby, 27, a winner of 15 straight fights, seven by stoppage, since being decisioned by Samir Mouneimne in May 2009.

“If I can take my best into the ring, I don’t think there’s a featherweight out there that can live with me. I am not saying that based on my last performances but in sparring and in the gym. I believe that if I can replicate that, I will prove it and I need to deliver that [on Saturday]. I believe I can become the best featherweight on the planet and if you don’t believe me, I’ll open the gym up and let people come down to the gym and watch me spar.”

Brunker, 28, was last in the ring for a unanimous decision over Mike Oliver in August 2013 that had followed a fourth round knockout of Maxsaisai Sithsaithong three months prior. Brunker will be fighting for the first time this year against Selby.

“Joel is a tough customer. He has power in both hands and is the real deal. So this is the time for me to prove I can get to the top and stay there. I have made my hard fights look easy recently,” said Selby.

“If I had stood and had a fight with them, I might have made them look good but I boxed on the back foot, used my skills and got easy wins. That’s maybe why I am not getting the credit that I should be getting.”

In addition to having sparred with Brunker at the Las Vegas-based facility of Floyd Mayweather Jr. as well as that of former titleholder Eddie Mustafa Muhammad in the past, Selby has worked out against former IBF junior featherweight beltholder Kiko Martinez.

“We sparred a couple of years ago when he was 23-0. It was the first time I went to America, so he’s only had four fights since. We sparred at Mayweather’s gym a couple of times and it was competitive and then we sparred again in Eddie Mustafa’s H.I.T. Factory gym a couple of times,” said Selby of Brunker.

“We didn’t talk about fighting really…I had thought about it but not too much and neither had he. We certainly didn’t think we’d be meeting in a final eliminator for a world title. If the sparring is anything to go by, the fans are in for a treat.”

Selby said he “did 30-odd rounds” against Martinez in Spain.

“I [sparred] with him and he punches really hard. I am going to go flat-out [on Saturday.] I had a week off after the last fight and I’ve been in the gym since then,” said Selby. “I am in tremendous shape. I have all sorts of sparring; everything is on track and I expect to be at my best.”

Selby said he had been targeting RING No. 1-rated Jhonny Gonzalez, owner of the WBC’s belt, in July.

“The plan was to go for the WBC [title] but then this opportunity came up and I had to grab it with both hands. That’s what I am in the game for, to become a world champion,” said Selby.

“IBF, WBC, it doesn’t matter to me which one I win. They are all world titles and these days, no one title is outstanding. They are all important and valuable.”

Selby considers Brunker to be “a tougher fight” than Gradovich.

“Gradovich seems to be fighting in Macao [China]. I’d love to go out there to fight. I’d enjoy it. It’s nice to have home advantage but if you’re good enough, you’re going to win anyway. It could set up a big money fight like a unification,” said Selby.

“That’s what I am in the game for: money. I think that this is a tougher fight than facing Gradovich. He’s a similar type of fighter but Gradovich doesn’t punch as hard as Brunker and he’s not as relentless with his pressure either. So he’d give me more time to get my shots off and outbox him.”


Note: Quotes taken from a release from Matchroom Sport.