Boxing: Selby stokes fire for Elland Road bout next summer

WORLD CHAMPION: Lee Selby looks likely to fight Leeds champion Josh Warrington at Elland Road next summer.
WORLD CHAMPION: Lee Selby looks likely to fight Leeds champion Josh Warrington at Elland Road next summer.
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WORLD champion Lee Selby is dreaming about the bright lights of Las Vegas but admits he would still love a Leeds tear-up with Josh Warrington.

And the Welshman has stoked the fire ahead of a likely fight at Elland Road next summer, declaring: “I’d love to go up there and knock him out.”

Selby makes his debut on the big American stage in the early hours of Thursday morning when he defends his IBF featherweight crown against Mexican veteran Fernando Montiel in Arizona.

The 28-year-old Welshman knows impressing against a former three-weight world champion could be the pathway to fame and fortune in the United States.

But Selby says the prospect of going into the Leeds backyard of European champion Warrington is something which excites him.

Warrington, a huge Leeds United fan, revaled last week that talks are already underway about making next year’s summer spectacular at Elland Road happen with the Yorkshireman out to achieve his end of the bargain by defeating opponents in the IBF rankings’ top ten and making himself a mandatory challenger.

“I want to be a worldwide star and to do that you need the big fights in America,” said Selby.

“But Warrington is still a fight I’d be interested in.

“He’s got a big fan base and the UK fans want it, so it’s a lucrative fight.

“I’d fancy fighting there in Leeds with all the crowd.

“I was up there at one of his fights working for Sky and they were throwing pints of beer at me and calling me all sorts of stuff.

“So I’d love to go up there and knock him out in front of them all.

“I also think it would be an easy fight when you look at people like (Leo) Santa Cruz and (Vasyl) Lomachenko out there in the featherweight division.

“Warrington’s no match to them, but it’s the same sort of reward money-wise for me.”

Selby finds himself in a division among the most exciting in boxing with Gary Russell Jr, Santa Cruz and the explosive Ukrainian Lomachenko all holding world belts and he feels Montiel offers a fast route to recognition in America.

The Mexican might be 36 now and a veteran of 60 fights, but he has won world titles at flyweight, super-flyweight and bantamweight and his last defeat came over four years ago.

“He’s a big puncher and I get caught regular in fights, so it should be exciting,” Selby said.

“But I believe I am the best featherweight out there and I’ve got to show that.

“There’s some super-fights in this division, it’s buzzing, and I want to be the man. If I keep winning, I will be.”

Warrington told the YEP last week: “We were looking at going down a different road for a world title but now there’s so much interest in me fighting Selby that it’s all about putting ourselves in a mandatory position to fight for the title.

“We’ve got to start looking down the road of world title eliminators and final eliminators in IBF rankings so we’ll be looking at fighters in the top ten and I think that’s what it will be.

“It will be two or three more fights and then Elland Road.

“It all starts at the end of November/December in my quest to make myself mandatory for that title. It will be one more this year then maybe one to keep busy or a title eliminator, one more early next year and we’ll go from there.

“Before it was just rumours but now they are having meetings with Leeds United and things like that. Plans are really moving forward.

“He’s got to keep winning, I’ve got to keep winning and then hopefully we will see a world title showdown at Elland Road next summer.”

Warrington will help commentate on Selby’s bout next Thursday for Sky Sports and said: “It’s just a voluntary defence but he’ll want to impress over there so he’s going to bring his best. I can see him keeping hold of the title and I hope that he does because all roads lead to me and him being a big fight next year.”