Lee Selby aims to be 'face of Welsh boxing' with Gradovich win

Lee Selby, boxing
Lee Selby made his professional boxing debut in 2008, beating Sid Razak
Lee Selby v Evgeny Gradovich
Venue: O2 Arena, London Date: Saturday, 30 May
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales from approx. 20:00 BST and text commentary on BBC Sport website from 19:45 BST

Lee Selby hopes to become "the face of Welsh boxing" if he beats Evgeny Gradovich for the IBF featherweight title at London's O2 Arena on Saturday.

The 28-year-old from Barry is aiming to become the 12th Welshman to be crowned world champion.

"Wales needs a new champion. Since Joe Calzaghe we've had Nathan Cleverly but he sadly lost the title," said Selby.

"When I win, this could be the start of something special in Wales."

He added: "I feel it's my turn to win the championship belt and become the face of Welsh boxing."

Selby would become the third Welsh boxer to win a world featherweight belt, following Howard Winstone and Steve Robinson.

He has lost only once in his 21-bout professional career - a four-rounder against Samir Mouneimne in 2009 - with eight of his wins coming via stoppages.

He has won the Commonwealth, British and European featherweight titles during his career.

Gradovich, 28, is unbeaten with 19 wins and one draw, and won the IBF belt from Billy Dib in March 2013 before making four successful defences of his title.

"I don't think it will be a major step up," said Selby.

"My opponents over the years have gradually got better. I know he's a world champion but it's not a massive jump."

Selby will be backed by a strong contingent of Welsh fans at the O2 Arena, with at least five coaches full of supporters travelling from Barry

"When things get tough in the fight your fans, friends and family cheering you on is always a great help," added Selby.

"I know that he's [Gradovich] a good fighter. And the fact that he's willing to come to my backyard to defend his title shows that he's a true champion. He's fought in China so coming to Britain won't phase him."

This 'Rule Brittania' card at the O2 will also see the return of former light-heavyweight world champion Cleverly.

The 28-year-old from Cefn Fforest has been out of action since losing to Liverpool's Tony Bellew in November and is dropping back down to 175lb for a fight against Thomas Man over eight rounds.