LEE Selby and his younger brother Andrew are planning on a long reign in British boxing, but it’s the heartbreak of losing their role model that inspires them both in the ring.
It’s Lee Selby, the 25-year-old British and Commonwealth featherweight champion, who steps into the ring first when he defends his titles and undefeated record tonight against Ghana’s Patrick Okine at the Newport Centre.
Brother Andrew, aged 23, has to wait until the summer for his moment in the sun but it should be well worth it as he goes for gold in the London 2012 Olympic games at flyweight.
Both Selby brothers are convinced that they can and will be world champions but confess they might have never stepped in the ring had it not been for the influence of their older brother Michael.
Michael was the first Selby sibling to become enthused with the sport and enticed both his brothers to join him in training.
However, three years ago Michael died in a tragic accident and for Lee it’s a trauma he will never fully come to terms with.
“Michael went away on a holiday and he drowned, it was obviously awful for the family,” he said.
“Michael was the first one of us to start boxing, he was the one who got us involved in the sport and honouring his memory is a huge motivation for me and for Andrew.
“He was a role model to us and I think about him every time I step into the ring.”
Selby hasn’t fought at the Newport Centre since 2010 and is relishing the chance to be in home territory again after ‘Lions Den’ fights against Stephen Smith in Liverpool (where he won his titles) and against John Simpson at London’s York Hall.
It caps off what has already been a splendid 2012 as last month Selby’s manager Chris Sanigar took him to Las Vegas where he sparred in Floyd Mayweather’s gym and even had a one-on-one session with the man who is arguably the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the world today.
“That was an absolute dream come true, he was very gracious and I really enjoyed my time over there, that’s about as good as it gets.”
Selby trains in Tony Borg’s St Josephs gym and has been sparring with Gary Buckland and even light heavyweight Justyn Hugh in preparation.
“I’ve had hundreds of rounds of sparring, it’s always a war in our gym, no-one trains harder than us and tonight I will put in another great performance and get the win.
“Then it’ll be my brothers’ turn in the Olympics. We are having a great year.”
- Read Michael Pearlman’s big fight report online tonight at southwalesargus.co.uk/sport