Martin Lindsay gives Lee Selby the nod to come through rumble with Josh Warrington
Lee Selby and Josh Warrington clash for the IBF featherweight title in Leeds on Saturday night with the winner expected to go on to face Carl Frampton at Windsor Park on August 18.
Welshman Selby (26-1) is elusive and hard to hit, while Warrington (26-0) is more aggressive and will have a hostile home crowd behind him. All-in-all an intriguing fight loos certain at Elland Road and Belfast's former British featherweight champion Martin Lindsay – who went the distance with Selby and Warrington – has weighed up the chances of each corner.
MARTIN Lindsay and Lee Selby went toe-to-toe in Belfast back in February 2013 as chief support to Carl Frampton's first meeting with Kiko Martinez.
“He's tricky,” said Lindsay.
“I didn't come out and say ‘that was my hardest fight ever', I was in harder fights, but it was frustrating because he makes you miss and he lands wee sneaky counters – he's intelligent in the ring.
“He doesn't sell tickets. This is his seventh defence of the IBF title but he doesn't sell out stadiums because people want to see knockouts and action, they don't want to see someone cruise to a 12-round points win, but that's what Selby is good at.
“He went through a period where he was knocking everyone out, but now he coasts his way to a points win because he won't actively engage and give the other fighter an opportunity to explode on him. He's doing what he has to do to win and it's at the cost of not being an exciting fighter.
“You can't knock him for it because he's got a world title, he's got something that people want and as long as he hangs in there he'll get well paid. I'm sure he's getting well paid for this one and if he wins, realistically the winner of this is the only viable option for Frampton at Windsor Park and I'd say Selby would come in two seconds.
“If Frampton wants a world title in the summer, this is the only one he's going to get – it's either Warrington or Selby, but I have a feeling it's Selby.”
In May 2014, 15 months after taking on Selby, Lindsay was offered another British and Commonwealth title shot against Warrington in Leeds. The fight came at just two weeks' notice, but it was an offer Lindsay couldn't turn down.
“Warrington doesn't punch very hard, but he's a worker,” said Lindsay.
“He doesn't take risks either – he'll come in and work in spurts but when you're about to let loose he'll back out and move again. But it's the sign of a good boxer that he knows when to fight and when not to fight.
“It's up to his opponent to drag him into a war, but you've never really seen him in a war because he goes out and works. I can't see him worrying Selby as regards a knockout, I can't see a knockout either way.
“I think it'll go 12 rounds and it just depends how tight the rounds are and what the atmosphere is like at the fight. Selby can turn the atmosphere quiet which would be a big negative for Warrington but if Warrington can get the crowd behind him then you never know how the judges will see all the tight rounds.
“If Selby negates his attacks and the crowd goes quiet, it could easily go the other way. The fans have always been vocal so far but Warrington has always fought people who have been willing to engage and he's not necessarily going to get that.
“Selby could go all guns' blazing to try and prove a point but I doubt it, I think he'll stick to his boxing because he has the reach, he has the height, he has good ring generalship, he controls the distance and the movement.
“Plus he has big, long arms and he's tall and big for the weight. He uses all that as best as he can and that's why he's a world champion.”
Warrington, four years younger than Selby, was at ringside for Frampton's return against Horacio Garcia in Belfast late last year. He had total confidence that he would dethrone Selby.
“Warrington throws a lot more punches than Selby,” Lindsay pointed out.
“If he can out-work him, maybe take a few more chances, then you never know what can happen. I think the crowd will play a big part – either Selby silences them and wins or Warrington makes the rounds tight and the crowds play a part in the judges' decision.
“I think Selby will go out to steal all the rounds but, in saying that, if he doesn't respect Warrington's power after a round or two you could see him going after him… There are so many scenarios in this fight.”
The stakes on Saturday night are even higher because the winner looks a shoo-in for the lucrative Windsor Park rumble with Frampton in August. Lindsay believes that Selby would cause Belfast's ‘Jackal' more problems than Warrington – but fancies Frampton to beat whoever comes through at Elland Road.
“The difference between Frampton and Warrington is that Frampton has the punch,” he said.
“I think Warrington suits Frampton's style more – he's a bit smaller, Carl could counter him easier – whereas Selby has a long jab…
“Frampton prefers to counter but countering a good counter-puncher who's tall and rangy… I don't know if Selby suits Frampton but I could still see Frampton winning because he would go out to force the action and he's very intelligent in cutting off the ring. I see Frampton winning whether it's Selby or Warrington, but I think Warrington suits him better.”
MICHAEL Conlan wants a challenger with ambition for his Belfast homecoming on June 30 after cruising to a clinical points win over Ibon Larrinaga.
Conlan eased to 7-0-KO5 with a routine decision victory at Madison Square Garden but admits he was at times frustrated by Larrinaga's consistent refusal to stand his ground and engage.
With tickets for his summer showcase at The SSE Arena already flying off the shelves, Conlan is more determined than ever to provide his fanatical supporters with a spectacle to remember next time out.
Conlan said: “The better the opponent I face, the better I become. I'm dying for an opponent to come towards me. I want to face someone who's trying to win in Belfast.
“I didn't put in an amazing performance last night but it just makes me want to get straight back in the gym and start getting ready for Belfast. I'm going to put on a great show.
“Every fighter wants to look spectacular every time but when I look back, I'll know that the Larrinaga fight stood me in good stead. It's a lot more difficult to fight someone who's just trying to survive than it is to face a better opponent coming to win.
“I'm still learning and improving. Although I was frustrated at times, I took things away from it such as discipline. I practiced some things we'd been working on in the gym and it's good to get some rounds in. Belfast will be a lot different…”
HUGHIE Fury won the British heavyweight title by stopping champion Sam Sexton in the fifth round at the Macron Stadium in Bolton.
Fury, 23, cousin of former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, turned in an impressive display five months after his controversial points defeat to New Zealand's WBO champion Joseph Parker.
Fury put his 33-year-old opponent on the canvas in the fourth round and finished it off in the fifth when the referee stopped the contest following another knock down.
“I've done everything he said tonight - this fight is dedicated to my dad,” Fury said.
“I was confident. My body has got so much stronger. I worked on my right hand over Christmas. It was a boxing masterclass.
“I dream to be a world champion. Whoever has got those belts - I'm coming. Although I lost (to Parker), I'm coming. I'm ready to fight.”