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Lee Selby feels ready to ruin Gustavo Lemos’ party in Buenos Aires

Lee Selby - Photo: Esther Lin/Showtime
Fighters Network

The smooth boxing skills of Lee Selby ran George Kambosos Jr. close in October 2020.

Since then, Kambosos has gone on to upset Teofimo Lopez to become Ring, IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight titleholder, while Selby has had to patiently wait and watch from the sidelines for his next opportunity.

After a 17-month hiatus, the 35-year-old Welshman will resurface against unbeaten Gustavo Lemos at the famed Luna Park, Buenos Aires, Argentina on Saturday.

“I was waiting for the IBF,” Selby (28-3, 9 knockouts) told The Ring. “I knew they were going to do something after the controversial loss to Kambosos but it took a while for them to order the final eliminator, but I held out.

“The fight went to purse bids. I was hoping Matchroom were going to win the bid but they must have had other ideas because they put in a low bid and lost the bid to the Argentine’s.”

Selby is no stranger to fighting behind enemy lines. His coming-out party was a stunning knockout over Stephen Smith in Liverpool, England. He won in Belfast, Northern Ireland against Martin Lindsay, Phoenix, Arizona against Fernando Montiel, and only narrowly lost to Josh Warrington in Leeds, England.

The former IBF 126-pound titleholder is under no illusions about how tough it will be fighting in front of wildly partisan pro-Lemos crowd.

“It’s nothing new, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest,” he said calmly. “It’s going to be a tough fight but they’re all tough at this level. It’s difficult to win away but I’ll give it my best shot. I’m hoping to go over there and put on a good display of boxing and get the win and become [IBF] mandatory challenger.”

Selby believes Lemos has some good attributes, though is confident he has answers for anything the Argentine has to offer.

“He’s a strong puncher, pressure fighter, he hasn’t really boxed at any sort of level but he’s solid,” said Selby, who spent 10 days in Spain sparring with IBF featherweight titleholder Kiko Martinez. “[I can give him trouble] through my boxing ability, the footwork and movement.”

Looking back, Selby, who made his way to Buenos Aires on March 15, believes he beat Kambosos but admits he could have done more.

“During the fight I thought it was quite comfortable and I found it quite easy,” said Selby. “I didn’t really take any shots. My corner thought I was winning. So, I kept behind the jab, kept boxing but looking back now I should have upped the pace more and took more risks.”

Since that night, the 135-pound division has grown from strength to strength.

“It’s one of the best divisions in boxing,” he said before throwing some shade on some of the division’s young guns. “[Teofimo Lopez, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia and Gervonta Davis are] obviously good but they’re calling them “The Four Kings.” [That was Roberto] Duran, [Thomas] Hearns, [Marvin] Hagler and [Sugar Ray] Leonard – it’s a totally different class. Duran at lightweight would go through them all in the same night.

“All I’m focused on at the moment is beating Lemos and becoming mandatory challenger and whoever is IBF champion at the time has to fight me.

“[A win] puts me back at the top, guaranteed to fight for a world title next. Hopefully, a rematch with Kambosos.”

Lemos turned professional in 2016. Since then, he has worked his way through the ranks, claiming an IBF regional title. The 25-year-old’s best win was probably over Jorge Paez Jr. (KO 2). He sports a pristine 27-0 (17 KOs) record, though often fights above the lightweight limit.

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on [email protected]