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Lee Selby, former featherweight world titleholder, retires from boxing

Selby tags Fernando Montiel. Photo by Christian Peterson/ Getty Images
05
Apr

Former IBF featherweight titleholder Lee Selby officially announced his retirement from professional boxing on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old Welshman came up short when he was stopped by Gustavo Lemos in an IBF lightweight title eliminator last month.

“After 27 years as an amateur and professional boxer, I know the time is right for me to hang up the gloves,” Selby said in a prepared statement that he released on Twitter.

“Being raised on a council estate in Barry, South Wales, you learn early on about adversity. For many young people the burden of being raised in poverty takes its toll, but boxing saved me more than I ever thought possible.”

Selby turned professional in July 2008 and fought in small halls far from the spotlight. He lost in his fifth fight on the road to Samir Mouneimne (PTS 4).

Lesser fighters may have fallen away, instead Selby doubled down and claimed Welsh and Celtic titles.

As a rank outsider, he received his big break when he headed to Liverpool and knocked out then-unbeaten Stephen Smith (TKO 8) for the British and Commonwealth featherweight titles. It proved to be the start of a decade long run of success.

Selby reeled of several defenses of his titles before adding the European championship by stopping former world title challenger Rendall Munroe (TKO 6).

Selby dethroned Evgeny Gradovich. Photo courtesy of Matchroom Boxing

In May 2015, Selby added his name to Welsh folklore when he won the IBF title from Evgeny Gradovich (TD 8), walking in the footsteps of former featherweight champs from Wales, Howard Winstone and Steve Robinson.

“I am proud to be the 12th Welshman to win a world title and my name will forever sit in the record books alongside those great fighters,” he said. “When I look back on my career, I have realized everything I set out to achieve.

“I tried to be a good champion and treat people with respect. I have always demonstrated [the] importance of hard work and sacrifice in achieving my goals. I’ve experienced some amazing victories but also learned valuable lessons in defeat that made me the man I am today.

“I hope my career can be an inspiration to those boxers starting out on small shows that your dreams can become a reality.”

All told, Selby made four successful defenses over a three-year period. He beat former three-weight world champion Fernando Montiel (UD 12), Eric Hunter (UD 12), Jonathan Barros (UD 12) and Eduardo Ramirez (UD 12).

Selby lost his title to Josh Warrington (SD 12) in a close fight behind enemy lines in Leeds, England, in May 2018. That defeat prompted Selby to jump two weight classes and reappear up at lightweight. Two wins, one of them over another former three-weight world titleholder Ricky Burns, positioned Selby to face the unbeaten George Kambosos Jr. It was a close fight, but Selby lost a split decision.

Following a 17-month hiatus, Selby packed his bags and headed overseas to Argentina, where he faced Lemos. It would be the first stoppage loss of Selby’s 14-year professional career.

“I exit the ring with no regrets, happy, healthy and with my family financially secure,” said the father of three. “Boxing has been my life and I’m sure my involvement in the sport will continue in the years to come as I look to set new goals. Thank you boxing.”

 

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

 

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