Brave Selby Defeats Barros

17/07/2017

Fight week is tough for any boxer. Tough for a fighter defending a world title. Tougher still when that fighter has had to wait longer than most to face their challenger.

But for IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby, this has been the hardest of weeks following the death of his mother, Frankie, on Tuesday.

Wales' 12th world champion beat Jonathan Victor Barros by unanimous decision in Wembley Arena on Saturday night.

But after dedicating the victory to his mother, Selby admitted he now faces another struggle to come to terms with the news from home.

"When I'm up here away from everything, it doesn't seem right, like it hasn't happened," the fighter from Barry said in his dressing room afterwards.

"I'm going to try to enjoy this win as much as I can, and now I'll drive home and face the harsh truth of what's happened.

"The hardest part was having my younger brother call me early on Tuesday morning. He woke me up and told me the news.

"I had my older sister on the phone crying, all of us together crying and them telling me to come home."

IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby faced the most difficult of build-ups to his title defence

Unsurprisingly, Selby said that the decision to continue with the contest was not an easy one.

"After I came off the phone, I switched it off, cut myself away from it, got on with the job, and told myself: 'I'll see them all when I get back,'" he said.

"If I told anyone, I would have been strapped up in a straitjacket. I got the win and I dedicate it to my mother.

"It's been a tough week, I've tried to blank out what went on back at home."

It was a fight the 30-year-old had been made to wait for, after the original bout in Las Vegas last January was cancelled 15 minutes before the official weigh-in because Barros failed a blood test.

Former WBA champion Carl Frampton, the man many believe will challenge Selby next for his title, tweeted from ringside: "HUGE RESPECT to @leeselby126 fighting under those circumstances."

The business of arranging his next fight will be left, as ever, in the hands of his management team, Chris and Jamie Sanigar.

"I'm happy to fight anyone," Selby added. "I've got a world title belt and they fancy their chances and want to take it off me. I'm open to all offers."

But for now Selby will take time off from the demands of training to spend valuable time at home, as he and his family take time to mourn and heal.