By Kris May @boxblog3
Since Lee Selby lost his IBF world featherweight title to Josh Warrington at Elland Road last year, his first defeat in nine years and only the second of his career, a rebuilding process has taken place for the Welshman which will now see him trying to become a two-time world champion by taking on the big names at lightweight.
Selby, who has not fought since he lost his title will be looking to get back to winning ways against American Omar Douglas (19-2) at the O2 later this month. Selby himself has said that the step up in weight was well overdue but he did not want to vacate the title he had fought so hard to win and had held since 2015.
The jump up two weight classes does mean that some potentially tasty domestic matches with the likes of Luke Campbell, Anthony Crolla and former three-weight world champion Ricky Burns are all within touching distance for Selby, as well as current division king and P4P great Vasyl Lomachenko.
Selby has certainly placed himself with some serious company as the lightweight division even at British level is highly competitive, however after reining over the featherweight division for so long he will no doubt feel that it is where he belongs as he tries to become Wales’ first recognised two-weight world champion.
Before all that however he must negotiate his ring return against a man with only two losses in his 21 fights, all be it against lesser known opposition. Omar Douglas, who usually competes at super-featherweight does have a reputation as a hard hitter with 13 of his 19 wins coming by knockout.
He will be looking to make a name for himself as he fights outside the USA for the first time. With a successful amateur career behind him in which he won 5 state golden glove titles the American fighter will be looking to halt Selby’s assault on his new division.
Nothing short of a win will do for the former champion if he is to get his career back on track after a fight that few in boxing circles saw him loosing.
A lot has been written about the defeat to Warrington and you cannot take that win away from the Leeds man. The champion has further cemented his place at the top of the pile with his recent win over Carl Frampton, however it is hard to ignore the fact that Lee Selby had a torrid and frustrating night, he was drawn into trading with his opponent instead of boxing off the back foot drawing him in and relying on his superb defensive skills. The cuts he suffered also did not help his cause.
Josh Warrington is a warrior and had the best year of his career last year, however Selby was not at his best on that night, something that many people have put down to him struggling to make the 9st limit.
There is a slim case for Douglas in this match and he will come to fight believing he can cause the upset. He does have power and can box so Selby will need to be on form.
In truth though I cannot see anything other than a Selby win. He has boxed on these big cards many times before and this will not faze him. I expect him to outbox Douglas on the back foot and hit on the counter. It will be interesting to see how the new weight will suit him as there have been rumours from the Selby camp that their man is now carrying some power himself, something that if true will add to his arsenal.
I am looking forward to seeing where this journey goes for one of the UK’s best and sometimes most underrated boxers.