Dan Rafael: Lee Selby

Gradovich-Selby in the works

January, 9, 2015
Jan 9
A couple of pieces of news out of Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn on Friday:

• He said he has begun negotiating a deal with Top Rank for Lee Selby’s mandatory shot against featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich this spring.

“We have already been in touch with Top Rank to make them an offer for a fight in the U.K. in the spring,” Hearn said. “Either way I expect to confirm the fight in the next few weeks. We are keen to stage the fight here and I'm very confident Lee will become the IBF champion in his next fight.”

Gradovich’s manager, Egis Klimas, previously told ESPN.com that he hoped to make the fight in Gradovich’s native Russia but that they had no problem fighting in the U.K. for the right deal.

Gradovich (19-0-1, 9 KOs) has made four defenses, most recently a draw in November with Puerto Rico’s Jayson Velez in a fight most felt Gradovich won easily. Selby (20-1, 8 KOs), of Wales, stopped Australia’s Joel Brunker in the ninth round in October to become the mandatory challenger.

• Hearn also announced that lightweights Luke Campbell, the 2012 British Olympic gold medalist, and Tommy Coyle will fight in separate bouts on March 7 at the Hull Ice Arena in Hull, England, their hometown. Campbell and Coyle are on a collision course, and with wins in March they will move on to the summer showdown in Hull. On the prelude card, Campbell (9-0, 7 KOs) will face former British junior lightweight champion Gary Sykes (27-4, 6 KOs) and Coyle (20-2, 9 KOs) will meet former British lightweight champion Martin Gethin (25-6-1, 11 KOs).

“These are great fights for Luke and Tommy to lay down a marker ahead of their explosive clash in the summer,” Hearn said. “Both guys will be out to impress in front of the home fans and indeed each other, but Gary and Martin will be aiming to scupper their plans. There will be plenty of tension in the air with Luke and Tommy knowing they must come through their fights in style to set up the showdown that their hometown fans crave.”

Matchroom's early fall schedule

July, 9, 2014
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who has an exclusive deal to provide the fights seen on subscription sports network Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, unveiled the early part of his fall Sky schedule on Wednesday and it’s ambitious.

Here’s a look at the schedule so far:

" Aug. 30: Newly signed middleweight contender Matthew Macklin and heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua, the 2012 British Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, will appear in separate fights atop a card in Dublin, Ireland.

" Sept. 13: Junior featherweight titleholder Scott Quigg will make his fourth defense against an opponent to be determined in Manchester, England. Lightweight Anthony Crolla will also be in action in the show.

" Sept. 27: Super middleweight Paul Smith, who is with Matchroom, is headed to Germany to challenge titleholder Arthur Abraham on a Sauerland Event card.

" Oct. 4: British and Commonwealth featherweight champion Josh Warrington will headline a card in his hometown of Leeds, England. Also on the card, Jamie McDonnell will defend his bantamweight world title.

" Oct. 11: A card at the O2 Arena in London will include super middleweight contender James DeGale, lightweight contender Kevin Mitchell and another appearance by Joshua as well as a featherweight title elimination fight between Lee Selby and Joel Brunker. The winner becomes the mandatory challenger for the titleholder Evgeny Gradovich.

" Oct. 25: Lightweights Luke Campbell, a 2012 British Olympic gold medalist, and Tommy Coyle will fight in separate bouts in their hometown of Hull, England.

Selby signs, to get more TV time

March, 14, 2013
Featherweight prospect Lee Selby of Wales, who holds the British and Commonwealth titles -- important stepping-stone belts for boxers in the United Kingdom that often lead to fights against world-class competition -- signed this week with Matchroom Sport's Eddie Hearn in a move that will gain the 26-year-old the wide exposure in the U.K. that he covets.

Selby (14-1, 5 KOs), whose lone loss was a four-round decision in his fifth pro fight in 2009, will now be seen on Britain's Sky Sports subscription network, the biggest boxing outlet in the U.K., which has an exclusive deal with Hearn.

"I'm very excited to box on Sky Sports and I think it's my time to shine," Selby said. "I think I can become a world champion. I'm a confident guy -- that's just my attitude. I've started off at the bottom on non-televised shows and now I'm here. It's a great feeling and I have the chance to get the exposure I deserve."

Selby's next fight (opponent to be determined) will be on the April 20 Sky card in Blackpool, England, on the undercard of junior middleweight Brian Rose's match with former world titleholder Joachim Alcine of Canada.

If all goes well for Selby, he will be back June 20 on a card in Cardiff, Wales, which he will share with countryman Gavin Rees, the lightweight contender who is coming off a February knockout loss to world titlist Adrien Broner.

"We have signed some big names in the last few weeks, but this one makes me very excited, as Lee Selby is one of the most talented and exciting fighters in Britain," Hearn said. "This kid is going to become a world champion. It's a bold statement, but that's our aim. We want to build him into a superstar, just like we've done with [welterweight] Kell Brook, [light heavyweight] Tony Bellew and [junior featherweight] Carl Frampton."

After Selby's promotional contract expired, he became the third fighter -- joining super middleweight contender George Groves and lightweight titlist Ricky Burns -- to jump from promoter Frank Warren to Hearn in recent weeks in a major shift in British promotional power.