Andrew Selby and Khalid Yafai face 'box-off' for Great Britain spot

By Ben DirsBBC Sport

Khalid Yafai says the pressure will be on flyweight rival Andrew Selby at this weekend's 2012 qualification 'box-off'.

Englishman Yafai and Welshman Selby will meet at the GB Championships, with the victor earning an Olympic place.

"It's a good feeling being the underdog and he's under more pressure than me because of everything he's achieved this year," said Yafai.

"Most people have written me off, but I'm ready to show the doubters what I'm all about."

Yafai and Selby, both 22, will fight on Friday and Saturday at London's York Hall, with a decider - if required - pencilled in for the Olympic test event at the ExCel arena at the end of the month.

Selby has enjoyed a stellar year, winning the European Championships before being pipped by one point in the final of the World Championships in Baku last month.

If Selby had won that final he would have been an automatic choice for the Olympics, but because Yafai also made it as far as the quarter-finals, a 'box-off' was ordered.

"I thought I would automatically be going because of the medals I've won this year," said Barry fighter Selby.

"Unfortunately I've got a 'box-off', which is a bit of a downer. I've won European gold this year and a silver at the worlds, and he hasn't won any major medals.

"It's hard that only one of us can go but I think I'm the better of the two and I think I can get the better medal [at the Olympics]."

While Birmingham's Yafai has not matched Selby's performances this year, he fought at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where he reached the round of 16 as a 19-year-old, and won European silver in 2010.

Yet for all his experience in the amateur ranks, Yafai admitted the hype surrounding this weekend's 'box-off' has "attracted more attention than anything I've been involved in before".

That clash will be the main event of the GB Championships, which pits the top amateurs selected by the Amateur Boxing Associations (ABAs) of England, Scotland and Wales against members of GB Boxing's Olympic podium squad.

Qualifying places for 2012 are still up for grabs in a number of weight categoriesexternal-link and the opportunity is there for boxers to make a case for selection in next year's final Olympic qualifying events in April (men) and May (women).

The weight categories where Olympic places are still available are men's light-flyweight, middleweight, light-heavyweight and heavyweight, and men and women's lightweight.

And two of the most hotly-contested contests at York Hall are expected to be the men's light-heavyweight and the women's lightweight.

GB Boxing does not currently have a podium boxer at light-heavyweight, so it is an opportunity for Lawrence Osueke (who will represent Great Britain) and Deion Jumah (England) from the development squad and Scotland's James Cunningham to stake a claim ahead of April's Olympic qualifier in Istanbul.

In the women's lightweight category, Chantelle Cameron (GB) will compete against fellow GB squad member Amanda Coulson (England) to establish supremacy ahead of next May's Olympic qualifier in China.

"This is a real big one for me," Coulson told BBC Sport's Jess Creighton. "It's really important that I put in the performance of my life and come away with a decision.

"GB selectors aren't too focused on domestic fights; it's more of a personal thing to prove that, yes, she's been getting the nod [and been selected for major tournaments] but I can still get a decision against her.

"Chantelle's style is all-out aggression; she keeps coming and coming and doesn't stop. I've got to be very clever and switched on and quick to react. But she's there to be hit, that's one of her weaknesses.

"Hopefully I've got her number, but it's not going to be easy."

Among the other hopefuls are Dorset lightweight Iain Weaver, a silver-medallist at the 2010 European Championships, who gets the chance to impress following rival Martin Ward's failure to secure Olympic qualification in Baku.

And London light-flyweight Charlie Edwards is given the opportunity to make up for his disappointment at the World Championships, where he lost in the first round.

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