Lee Selby says his clash with Viorel Simion in Betfair’s ‘The Homecoming’ will determine if he can mix it with the World class featherweights.Selby has been in sparkling form this year, starting with his master class win over Martin Lindsay in Belfast in February where he defended his British and Commonwealth titles then despatching rugged Australian Corey McConnell inside five rounds in Blackpool in May.
The Welshman’s promoter Eddie Hearn believes Selby is destined to become a World champion, and the 26 year old says he has to prove that he is ready to move up to challenge the best in the division.
“This is a big step up in class from all my previous opponents, so we will see how good I really am,” said Selby, who challenges for the WBC International title. “Simion is number four in the WBC so this is a real-life World class opponent I will be facing. He is no push over and he will be coming to win. He has defended his title twice and he will be trying to defend it again on Saturday.
“I don’t like to watch too much of my opponents before the fight but I like to have a look once to see their style. He is a come-forward pressure fighter who doesn’t take a backwards step.
“My trainer has been watching him, I only like to take one look, he works out the plan and I just put them into shape; he watches the fighters, makes up a plan and I try and carry it out.
“I think it will be a great fight and I think it will go the distance because he is number four with the WBC, he is experienced and he has a good defense, so I think it will be a twelve-round fight but it will be all action.
“If I catch him and hurt him I will take him out but he is a tough, durable opponent. I am confident going into every fight and I think I will beat any featherweight.
“If I beat him, it should push me high up in the WBC ratings and the WBC is the highest regarded belt in boxing, so that is what I am aiming for.”
The famous green belt is currently the possession of Mexican Abner Mares, who took the title from Daniel Ponce De Leon in nine rounds in their Las Vegas clash in May. Selby is impressed by the 27 year old although he sees a potential chink in his armour – and thinks regular action on Sky Sports could land him a shot soon.
“Abner Mares is an excellent fighter but I have a height and size advantage over him,” said Selby. “I think he is only five foot four so I think I could hold my own against him.
“I would fight tomorrow for the World title, because that is every fighters dream. But I don’t think I have had the experience at World level yet and this is my first test.
“It is like a deciding fight to see if I am World class yet or not, so I have to put on a good performance. Hopefully I can take him out but I think it will go the 12 round.
“The bigger the show the better for me and the more coverage I get, and this is a big show and it is outdoors. I have been kept in the dark with my previous fights until I signed with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport, so it is nice to get the exposure and be on this big bill.
“I am in a great position now and after Saturday’s fight we will see where I can go from there. I will either carry on fighting World class opponents or drop back down to British level, this is the deciding fight.”
Selby’s clash with Simion is part of a stellar line-up in Hull, as hometown favourite and Olympic Gold medal hero Luke Campbell MBE makes his pro debut against Andy Harris.
Sheffield’s unbeaten welterweight favourite faces a rematch with dangerous American Carson Jones and there’s a tasty battle for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight title between Hull’s Tommy Coyle and Liverpool’s Derry Mathews.
Campbell’s fellow Olympic medallist Anthony Ogogo boxes for the third time in the pro ranks and is joined on the undercard by Liverpool’s Rocky Fielding, Sheffield’s Curtis Woodhouse, Islington’s John Ryder and young Hull talents Joel Haigh and Zak Collins.