TRAINER Tony Borg is looking forward to a “far more exciting” Lee Selby now that the former world champion has put the stress of making the featherweight limit firmly behind him.

Selby faces American Omar Douglas at London’s O2 tonight with the IBF intercontinental lightweight strap up for grabs on the James DeGale-Chris Eubank Jnr undercard.

It will be Selby’s first outing since losing his IBF world featherweight crown to Josh Warrington last May, after which the 32-year-old Welshman decided to step up to 135lbs.

Borg, who has coached Selby to Welsh, Celtic, Commonwealth, British, European and world titles, feels his charge deserves a huge amount of credit for continually getting down to 126lbs.

Selby has said he would chew but not swallow food to cut weight, but now the pressures of the scales have been eased somewhat and he is chasing more glory at world level.

Giving his take on Selby’s two-weight jump, Borg said: “Moving to lightweight is the best thing he’s ever done.

“It was something we all thought of, but as a group, we never decided to do it.

“He was featherweight champion of the world and defending his title, wasn’t getting hurt, so he just kept at the weight.

“He has always been fit and in great shape, but after his second or third defence, getting down to that nine stone was so hard, and the power wasn’t there.

“At the end of the day, we’ve all got to put our hands up, we should have got together and said, ‘that’s it, let’s move up’.

“As it is, he’s had a great career, he’s earned some money, bought some property and has done well for himself.”

He added: “If you look at him now, you couldn’t imagine him getting down to nine stone, there’s nothing there, he’s just ripped and is muscle all over.

“He did exceptionally well to make featherweight for as long as he did and deserves a lot of credit for what he did, but he has moved on now.

“With the IBF, you’ve got to weigh again the next day and you’re only allowed to put on 10 pounds.

“If it was the WBA, WBO or WBC, where Lee would weigh-in on the Friday, by the time he got in the ring the following day he would be a stone-and-a-half heavier.

“That’s what he was doing when he was the British champion, and he was knocking them out.

“There was all that stress of the weigh-ins with the IBF which he didn’t have at British and European level.

“I’m expecting Lee to go for the stoppage now, and he’ll be far more exciting.

“He’s very good technically and has had that dog in him, but the dog wasn’t let out of the kennel.”

Borg has pinpointed a moment during Selby’s third world title defence, against Jonathan Victor Barros at Wembley Arena in July 2017, which told him his fighter’s days as a featherweight were numbered.

“When he came to fight Barros, it got to the eighth round and I said to him, ‘Lee, it’s time to switch up, let’s go up a gear and get him out of here’,” he said. “But it just wasn’t there, he wasn’t listening to any of us, and he was just going through the motions and kept his belt.

“It was like he was driving a taxi and there’s not enough fuel to get to the next job, so he had to park up.

“That should have been a warning for us really, but it’s history now.”

And as for Douglas (19-2), Borg believes the 28-year-old from Delaware is the ideal opponent for Selby as he begins the next chapter of his career.

“Lee could have fought some journeyman just to try it out at lightweight, but he wants a real fight,” he added.

“He’s got a real fight and the people that benefit are the punters who spend their money to see a real fight.

“His opponent isn’t going to be some pushover who’s going to roll over after a round or two. They’ve purposely gone out and picked an opponent who figures quite high in the rankings.

“Lee’s not someone who will look for excuses. He’s boxing a guy who has fought at world level twice, lost on points twice, and hasn’t been knocked down or beaten up.

“A good performance here, which we’re expecting and hoping for, and Lee will kick the door open.

“Hopefully he gets back to the top and secures a world title shot at another weight.

“Lee has always wanted to be a two-weight world champion, he always talked about it, but because everything was running so smoothly at featherweight, we just stuck with it.

“It’s quite possible that after this one he could go straight to the top of the rankings.”