When Teofimo Lopez announced himself as one of boxing’s new stars with a dominant dethroning of Vasyl Lomachenko, the stakes of Lee Selby’s eliminator against Goerge Kambosos Jr were elevated significantly.
Saturday’s clash marks the stylish Welshman’s third consecutive bout in the capital after he previously earnt decision victories over Omar Douglas and Ricky Burns respectively. However, as he looks to defeat Kambosos the importance is heightened as he eyes the first shot at conquering the newly crowned lightweight king.
Having reigned at featherweight previously, Selby understands what it means to reach the pinnacle of the sport, defending his title four times before falling short against Josh Warrington and embarking on a new venture at lightweight.
Nonetheless, a potential clash with pound-for-pound contender Lopez would provide him with an opportunity to reach a new height and affirm himself as one of the most skilled Welshman to lace the gloves.
Furthermore, there’s a real possibility that the IBF title opens up if Lopez vacates and moves up a weight, a move which would provide the winner of Saturday’s clash to affirm their status as a contender in one of the sport’s most enticing divisions.
Kambosos is defending an undefeated record yet has never faced anyone of the calibre of Selby, the collision represents a step up for the highly-rated Australian, as he seeks to land his biggest win in front of a significant tv audience.
For Selby, at 33, a win against a prospect five years his junior underlines he still has an abundance to give at the highest level of the sport.
The former featherweight king is known for his discipline and dedication, in sparring and in the ring he has shared the ring with a myriad of the sport’s top talents – if anyone is primed for a run at a second world title tilt it’s him.
It’s perhaps indicative of how assured Selby is that he downplays the sparring sessions the pair previously engaged in, whilst the Australian makes bold claims about his dominance in said sparring at the Wildcard.
Given the nature of the collision and the mentality of both men as they seek to excel their status, tensions have increased and spite has emerged between the two.
Opportunities of this magnitude seldom arise in boxing, a battle behind closed doors with a route to a megafight and a world title opportunity hanging in the balance.
The long term goal for Selby is enhanced by an opportunity not only to began a new world title reign but also to cement his name in Welsh boxing history, becoming the country’s first two-weight world champion.