Last year was an outstanding year for British boxing, as seven fighters from the United Kingdom captured world title belts in 2015. Among this cavalcade of champions was Lee Selby of Wales, who defeated Evgeny Gradovich for the IBF featherweight title on May 30 by Round 8 technical decision, winning nearly every round of the fight. An accidental butt in Round 7 opened a deep cut over Gradovich’s eye and caused a premature end to the fight. But for the first two-thirds of the fight, Selby put on a brilliant performance.
Selby managed to match Gradovich’s breathless pace when he needed to and slowed it down at other times, using a good jab and dazzling footwork to keep the fight on the outside.
Selby followed that performance in October with a unanimous decision over Fernando Montiel, a three-division world champion and aging legend, now fighting well above his best weight.
I’m quite anxious to see Lee Selby face another top star in the division. He might not be facing that caliber of opponent this weekend, but he could have his hands full regardless, when he faces tough Philadelphia fighter Eric Hunter. Hunter’s nickname is “The Outlaw,” and he has certainly shown a tendency to play outside of the rules. Two of his three professional losses (and his only losses since his sixth professional fight) came by DQ. In 2010 he was disqualified against Luis Franco for repeated low blows. He was disqualified in 2013 against Mike Oliver, for hitting on the break.
Hunter has defeated good fighters. He handed Jerry Belmontes his first professional loss in 2012 and beat Rene Alvarado in January 2015. Last May he blasted Antonio Escalante, knocking him down three times and stopping him in Round 1.
Hunter is the kind of hard-nosed fighter who sometimes cashes in on a big break like this one. This should be a straight-up battle.