Evgeny Gradovich-Lee Selby talks begin
Negotiations are ongoing for a defense by IBF featherweight beltholder Evgeny Gradovich of Russia against Lee Selby of England, according to their respective handlers.
The manager of Gradovich (19-0-1, 9 knockouts), Egis Klimas, told RingTV.com, during an interview earlier this month, that he wants the bout to happen in late March in Russia while Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport stated on Friday that he wants Selby (20-1, 8 KOs) to fight in the United Kingdom.
“We just sent them the letter on Dec. 31, 2014 to start negotiations,” said IBF Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker, during an earlier interview with RingTV.com, adding that “a late March” date “falls within the guidelines” of the IBF rules.
A native of Wales, Selby, 27, set out to prove that he was not “over-hyped” with October’s ninth-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Joel Brunker, whom he considered to be “a tougher fight” than Gradovich.
In victory over Brunker, Selby won the right to face Gradovich, who was last in action for a disputed draw with undefeated Jayson Velez in November. Selby has won 16 straight fights, eight by stoppage, since being decisioned by Samir Mouneimne in May 2009.
“We have already been in touch with Top Rank to make them an offer for a fight in the UK in the spring,” said Hearn. “Either way, I expect to confirm the fight in the next few weeks. We are keen to stage the fight here and I’m very confident Lee will become the IBF champion in his next fight.”
Prior to facing Velez, Gradovich, 28, was in action for a unanimous decision over Alexander Miskirtchian in May.
If Klimas is successful, it would be the first time Gradovich has fought as a pro in the country of his birth.
“I am going to trying to see if that fight can take place in RussiaÔÇªso we’re probably thinking that it will take place at the end of March,” said Klimas.
“If we can get that confirmed with a Russian promoter and the date and the purses and everything, then we can go to the IBF and say, ‘Here is the date; let’s do it in Russia,’ and I don’t think they’re going to be very strict about that. It should be worked out for both sides.”
Note: Hearn’s quotes from a release.