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Gustavo Lemos counts on more than the home advantage in his fight against Lee Selby

Gustavo Lemos - Photo by Ramon Cairo - OR Promotions
Fighters Network

Any dream of conquering the world has to begin necessarily at home, and that more than true with lightweight contender Gustavo Lemos.

The 25-year-old unbeaten pressure fighter has fought every one of his professional bouts in his native Argentina, which should count as a disadvantage when it comes to facing a proven road warrior.

But Lemos (27-0, 17 knockouts) hopes that the warmth of a partisan crowd at one of boxing’s most fabled venues worldwide will carry him to victory in what looms as the greatest challenge in his career.

“Luna Park means a lot for any fighter,” said “The Electric” Lemos in a recent phone call to discuss his IBF lightweight elimination bout against Wales’ Lee Selby this coming Saturday, March 26 at the venerable stadium in which many of Argentina’s greatest fighters had their most glorious nights. “And particularly for me, a dream come true, knowing that this is an elimination for a world title.”

Against “Lightning” Selby (28-3, 9 KO), Lemos will be facing a former featherweight titlist who mixed it up with the best in three divisions, but at 35 years of age and far removed from the weight classes in which he shone, Selby will have to conjure all of his mojo to get past the non-stop punching machine that Lemos becomes as soon as the bell sounds for every round.

Selby has an impressive resume, with wins over former champs Ricky Burns and Jonathan Barros as the highlights, but he is also remembered for his competitive losses to Josh Warrington and current Ring champion George Kambosos Jr.

Stylistic considerations, however, do not enter Lemos’ mind, as he approaches his fights as wars of attrition from beginning to end, firing for effect with both hands in close range until the damage starts to pile up.

“My dad Pedro Alem is the one in charge of that,” said Lemos, when asked about his strategy. “I trust him, he knows what kind of job we have to do, he has been with me since my first amateur fight and it has always been with me. I know that he is an opponent with a lot of experience, that’s all.”

Lemos has his own string of wins against underrated fighters such as Maximiliano Veron and Johathan Eniz, but Selby will be a considerable jump in opposition. Luckily for him, his promoter unexpectedly outbid Matchroom for the bout, and the fight will be made in Buenos Aires, some 310 miles (500 km) from his native town of Tres Arroyos where he grew up in poverty as one of nine siblings of local farmhands.

“He was a fighter since he was a little kid,” said his mom during a recent documentary about his life. “I would cook fried doughnuts for him to sell, and he’d sell 20 dozen of those in a couple of hours. He would run from door to door with that basket hanging from his arm.”

For a fighter with such little support, having his promoter O.R. Promotions bidding as much as possible to have him fight at home is an additional source of inspiration.

“We waited for the IBF to order the mandatory elimination with (Selby). We always thought we’d have to travel, but the bid was won by my promoter Osvaldo Rivero, to whom I am grateful for trusting me since the beginning of my career.”

Regardless of where and when his long-overdue title shot will take place, Lemos feels he’s in a win-win situation no matter who he fights next.

“I know I am in one of the best and most profitable divisions out there, where there are a lot of great fighters,” said Lemos. “But before I discuss my future I have to wait and see what happens on Saturday.”

The undercard will feature the following bouts:

Evelyn “The Princess” Bermudez (25 years-old, 15-0-1, 5 KO, Santa Fe, Argentina) takes on Debora “Panther” Rengifo (35 years-old, 16-8-1, 9 KO, Río Chico, Venezuela), in a women’s junior flyweight IBF title defense and with the vacant WBO belt at stake as well, over 10 rounds.

Braian Nahuel Suarez (29 years-old, 16-0-0, 15 KO, Hurlingham, Argentina) faces Durval “The Bomber” Palacio (31 years-old, 9-1-0, 6 KO, Salta, Argentina), in a 10-round light-heavyweight bout.

Jose Angel “Sanson” Rosa (22 years-old, 12-0-0, 10 KO, La Rioja, Argentina) vs. Santiago Damian “The Train” Sanchez (31 years-old, 8-3-0, 4 KO, Ranchos, Argentina), in a 10-round welterweight bout.

Pablo Ezequiel “Pacman” Corzo (21 years-old, 9-0-0, 9 KO / San Fernando del Valle, Argentina) vs. Roger “Dinamita” Guerrero (24 years-old, 17-2-1, 10 KO, Quito, Ecuador), in a 10-round super middleweight bout.