LEE Selby has admitted his honour at following in some very famous footsteps.
The Argus caught up with Selby just minutes after his destructive victory against Rendall Monroe in front of a raucous and fervent home support at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on Saturday night.
Selby added the European featherweight title to his collection with victory over Monroe, many pundits’ tip to give Selby his toughest fight yet.
However, the St Joseph’s trained puncher responded, producing a scintillating display that included the mesmeric sequence in the sixth that saw Selby call over the referee in true Muhammad Ali style to halt proceedings with Monroe trapped on the ropes.
And he’s keeping some illustrious company in terms of what he’s achieved so far in his career.
“I think I’m the first (Welsh) person since Howard Winstone to defend the British title four times and go on to win the European title,” he said.
“I’m a massive boxing fan myself, so to achieve what Howard did is amazing. It’s a great honour.”
Selby was delighted with his performance after a tough 2013 that saw him fight throughout the year and his performances dip as a result.
“I knew Monroe would come forward pressuring me and I just wanted to box on the back foot and beat him to the jab,” said Selby.
“I knew eventually I would break him down slowly and get to him. When I caught him the plan was to let it go.
“Rendall is a quality operator but I had a nice rest after a hard year in 2013 and I felt fresh and back to my best,” said Selby.
“I was peppering him with a lot of shots and he wasn't coming back, now and again he'd throw two shots and then cover up again. I caught him with a big shot at the end and it was game over.
“I am still learning and maybe I didn't understand the importance of having a rest. I was constantly in the gym with four big fights but I had a good rest and it proved tonight that the rest has been good for me.
“Was I being kind calling the referee over? No, it was just showboating!”
Selby is even hoping his next battle might also be in Wales, such was the success of the sell-out show on Saturday.
“I hope I can get out in April or May and back here again. The crowd was sensational, they were chanting my name and that is the stuff dreams are made of, I want more of it. I want to defend the belt against good European fighters and move towards a World title eliminator by the end of the year.”
Selby has boxed at some of the outposts of the sport, including, in the battle before he won the British title, at the tiny Pill Millennium Centre.
And both his manager and promoter hope that sends a message.
“It’s very exciting times for Lee, but he’s also an example to every professional boxer that you can start on the small hall shows and end up as the main event,” manager Chris Sanigar told the Argus, adding “we are trying to build Lee into a superstar. Someone who can fight on huge bills in Vegas and win.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn added: “Before we signed Lee I was told he sold about 50 tickets for a fight in Newport and on Saturday we were sold-out and turning people away on the door,” said Hearn. “I'm so pleased for him, he won every round, he looked great and he has got a big year ahead of him.”