- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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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.”
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.