Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Boxing

Lee Selby hungry for shot at king Carl Frampton

Lee targets dream title unification battle in Cardiff

By David Kelly

IBF World featherweight champion Lee Selby says he is gunning for a showdown with Northern Ireland hero Carl Frampton at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff.

Frampton upset the odds with a blistering victory over Leo Santa Cruz to land the WBA World featherweight title in the early hours of Sunday morning and Selby was one of those at ringside in Brooklyn's Barclays Centre.

Immediately afterwards, Frampton was being linked with clashes against either Welshman Selby, WBC champion Gary Russell Jnr or a re-match with Mexican Santa Cruz.

But Selby believes that he is in pole position for a unification battle with Frampton, who has become the biggest name in the featherweight division on the back of his win over Santa Cruz.

More: Haye: Frampton is fighting his way to greatness

And he wants it in Cardiff at what most people, including Selby, still refer to as the Millennium Stadium.

"Me and Frampton would do about 50,000 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, it's a huge fight for the UK and because there's a roof we don't have to wait until the summer time to make the fight," said Selby, who is managed by Chris and Jamie Sanigar.

"It would be a dream for me to fight in the Millennium Stadium - the last time there was boxing there was about nine years ago when Joe Calzaghe defended his World title.

"The great thing is that both our camps get on well and they actually co-promoted a bill in Cardiff quite recently. So, I really hope that negotiations can get started very quickly - there were some talks even before the fight here.

"It would be one of the three biggest all-UK fights that can be made at the moment - Anthony Joshua against Tyson Fury and Amir Khan against Kell Brook being the other two.

More: Home and roots ... why we see ourselves in heroes like Carl and they see themselves in us

"The Millennium Stadium would be the dream venue for me but I would fight Carl in Belfast. I boxed there before when I beat Martin Lindsay. I got some rude gestures on the way to the ring and some boos but on the way out I got a standing ovation because the fans over there know their boxing and they respected my performance."

Selby, 29, has no doubt that kind of respect would be seen in the build-up to a fight with Frampton - in the same way that the Belfast man and Santa Cruz refused to become engaged in any trash talking.

"When Frampton fought Scott Quigg there was a lot of animosity leading up to the fight between the fighters and the two camps but Carl and I respect each other as fighters so there'll be none of that," added Selby.

"There's no hype required for a fight between me and Carl, it will just be two great fighters trying to unify the belts in one of the biggest fights out there. We'll show respect before the fight, punch lumps out of each other and then show respect after the fight - that's the crazy sport we're in. Facing Frampton is the kind of fight that I want next in my career."

Selby certainly enjoyed being ringside in Brooklyn for the pulsating battle between Frampton and Santa Cruz, which generated a tremendous atmosphere.

More: Jackal now among World elite with American public desperate for more: DiBella

"It was a great fight and I was glad I made the trip. It was all-action and the styles gelled very well from the start and it was a great atmosphere. There were plenty of Irish fans and when I went to get a coffee they were singing Frampton songs and then when they saw me they changed the name to Selby which showed the respect they have for me," he said.

"The step up in weight seemed to help Carl, he looked a lot stronger. He's usually ripped to the bone on the scales but he looked a lot healthier and he did the distance much better - he did it at a high pace.

"I saw things that I feel I could do to beat Carl. I would use my height and range more effectively, I wouldn't just stand in front of him trying to tee off. I can stand and trade but I can choose to box as well. It would be an exciting fight - Carl always makes it exciting.

"Already the bookies have the fight a 50-50 one and people on social media have different opinions on the fight which shows you just how exciting a fight it would be.

"Carl is the main man now and if I beat him I would take that position. But I think there should be a featherweight tournament, the way they did with the super-middleweights a while back, where everybody fights everyone else.

"A loss on a record doesn't matter the way it used to - people just want to see the best fights."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph