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Gradovich hits the road for defense, as usual

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Featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich will defend his belt in England against Lee Selby. Ed Diller/Mpsportimages.com

Featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich of Russia is a seasoned traveler for his fights so the notion of defending his belt on the road in England against Lee Selby of Wales is no big deal.

"He'll want to be at his best because he's the home fighter, but for me it doesn't matter where I fight because I am the champion," Gradovich said. "It's a good opportunity for me to box in England for the first time and I am really looking forward to the challenge."

Gradovich will be making his fifth title defense when he takes on Selby on Saturday on Matchroom Boxing's loaded card at the O2 Arena in London.

Gradovich (19-0-1, 9 KOs), 28, has fought most of his career in the United States -- he is trained by Robert Garcia at his gym in Oxnard, California -- but has made three of his defenses in Macau. He has also defended in Omaha, Nebraska, and won his 126-pound title in Connecticut.

He faces the 28-year-old Selby (20-1, 8 KOs), who has not lost since a four-round decision setback in his fifth professional bout in 2009 and has looked good in recent fights, including when he knocked out Australia's Joel Brunker in the ninth round in October to become Gradovich's mandatory challenger.

"I am not going to let him take the title from me," Gradovich said. "I worked too hard to get it and even harder to keep it. I love being the world champion. It's the best feeling in the world and I want to keep that feeling going. Boxing is my passion. I love every bit of it, and boxing at the elite level like I do is like nothing else. It's just my favorite thing to do.

"The camp has been good. I've been working hard and I try to do my best. We don't prepare for a special fight. We always prepare well. All my training camps are good because everyone in my team are people that I believe in and they work so hard to get it right on the night."

The stacked card is headlined by welterweight titlist Kell Brook (34-0, 23 KOs) making his second defense just two months after his first when he meets British countryman Frankie Gavin (22-1, 13 KOs) in the main event.

Also, lightweight titlist Jorge Linares (38-3, 25 KOs) of Venezuela makes his first defense, a mandatory, against quality British contender Kevin Mitchell (39-2, 29 KOs) and top heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua (12-0, 12 KOs), the 2012 British Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, will face Atlanta's Kevin Johnson (29-6-1, 14 KOs), a former world title challenger, who has never been knocked out.