THERE will again be a strong Welsh presence when big-time boxing returns to London’s O2 next month, with Craig Evans joining former stablemate Lee Selby on the Matchroom show.

It wasn’t long after Cardiff’s Joe Cordina defended his British and Commonwealth lightweight titles against Newport-trained Gavin Gwynne on Saturday night that news of Selby’s bout broke.

St Joseph’s star Selby, who lost his IBF world featherweight crown to Josh Warrington last May, will take on experienced Ricky Burns, a former three-weight world champion himself.

After his last outing, a points win over Omar Douglas in February, the Welshman was being heavily linked to a showdown with another former world champion in Adrien Broner.

It is understood that any meeting between the two hinged on whether the American would be allowed to box in the UK following misdemeanours outside the ring back home.

With that seemingly off the table, Selby now faces what should be an exciting encounter with Scotland’s Burns, a 36-year-old (43-7-1) who has held titles at super-featherweight, lightweight and super-lightweight.

He won the first of those in September 2010 and took part in a dozen world title fights in all over the space of seven years.

Burns has fought just three times since the last of those in April 2017, with a defeat to Anthony Crolla followed by victories over Ivan Njegac, in his 50th pro bout, and ex-British king Scott Cardle.

It hasn’t yet been confirmed as to whether or not there will be a belt on the line when Tony Borg-trained Selby and Burns square off on Saturday, October 26.

As for Evans, he is set to lock horns with Belfast’s James Tennyson, a winner at the O2 last Saturday when brutally knocking out Atif Shafiq inside two rounds of their WBA international title scrap.

Tennyson, 26, is a former Celtic, Commonwealth and European champion and had been scheduled to take on Gwynne before the latter was given a shot at Cordina.

Now Tennyson (25-3) must go toe-to-toe with Evans in a final eliminator for the British and Commonwealth straps.

Evans, the reigning WBO European lightweight king, has fought for the Lonsdale Belt once before, but he came up short on that occasion, losing to Cardle on points, also at the O2.

Many, including Evans, will feel another crack at the British title is long overdue for Gavin Rees’ charge, who turns 30 later this month.

The London show is headlined by unbeaten duo Josh Taylor and American Regis Prograis, who fight for WBA, IBF and WBC super-lightweight titles.

Meanwhile, next weekend is another big one for Gwent fighters.

On Friday, Risca’s Jake Tinklin (3-0) and St Joseph’s quartet Robbie Vernon (3-0), Lloyd Germain (1-0), Joshua John (debut) and Jordan Withers (debut) all feature on the Sanigar Events bill in Swansea.

Then, 24 hours later, Pontllanfraith’s Kody Davies (9-0) takes to the ring at York Hall in Bethnal Green for a British light-heavyweight title final eliminator against unbeaten Londoner Zak Chelli (7-0).