LEE Selby has warned American rival Omar Douglas that stepping up two weight divisions means there will be more power behind his punches at London’s O2 on Saturday night.

The bout marks Selby’s return to the ring after last May’s defeat to Josh Warrington, a loss which ended the Welshman’s three-year reign as IBF world featherweight king.

Now campaigning at lightweight, the 32-year-old has no plans to wait around in his bid to become a two-weight world champion, an achievement no other Welsh fighter can lay claim to.

His quest starts with a tough test against Douglas, 28, who comes to the UK with a record of 19 wins and two losses since making his professional debut in May 2011.

While boasting a hugely successful tenure at featherweight, including Welsh, Celtic, Commonwealth, British, European and world titles, Selby was finding it increasingly difficult to make the 126lb limit.

It didn’t help Selby that the IBF requires boxers to weigh-in on the morning of a contest, as well as the day before, meaning he had less time to replenish his already drained body prior to fighting.

Selby did everything he could to make sure his weight was what it needed to be, but the Warrington clash pushed him that little bit too far.

The fact that a teenage Selby fought at lightweight in the amateur ranks shows how much he put himself through to maintain his status as one of the world’s best featherweights.

And now he doesn’t have that pressure of dropping so much weight on his shoulders, Tony Borg charge Selby believes he will benefit come fight night.

“All the work has been done, it’s just about getting down to the weight and putting on a show on Saturday night,” he said.

“Now I’m fighting at lightweight I’ve maintained a lot of my strength the closer I get to the weigh-in.

“I didn’t have the strength I’ve got now when I was making featherweight, so hopefully I can bring that into the fight.

“I’ve definitely got more energy, but I’m always fit and strong in training.

“It was just the last few weeks before a fight when I had to cut the weight to make featherweight, that’s where I lost most of my power and strength.

“I don’t really look for stoppages, but I should have a lot more power in fights and more snap on my shots.”

He added: “I’ve got some great memories of the O2 and I think I’ve boxed there more times than any other venue. I won the world title there and defended it, and I won the Lonsdale Belt outright there, so hopefully it will be good for me again this weekend.

“Douglas is a good fighter, he’s got a good left hook and power, and he’s coming in with a good record. It’s going to be a tough fight but one I’m confident of winning.

“I wouldn’t have thought the gap between fights will make a difference.

“I’ve had longer periods without fighting and I’m always in the gym training and sparring, so there shouldn’t be any ring-rust.”

Had he beaten Warrington in Leeds last year, Carl Frampton would have been next on Selby’s hit list.

But that didn’t see the light of day as the unbeaten Yorkshireman deservedly won the Elland Road showdown on points.

Reflecting on only the second defeat of his career, Selby said: “If I’d won against Warrington I was going to fight Frampton and then move up to lightweight.

“I’ve put the Warrington fight to the back of my mind, but I’ve got no regrets with the way I fought and it was the right decision by the judges.”

Looking forward, he continued: “Hopefully I’ll have an eliminator for the world title and then go for the world title itself.”

Saturday’s contest is set to be for the IBF intercontinental crown.