Lee Selby: IBF featherweight champion beats Spain's Andoni Gago

By Luke ReddyBBC Sport at the O2 Arena
Lee Selby v Andoni Gago
Lee Selby (right) beat Andoni Gago in his first fight since beating Eric Hunter in April 2016

IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby put almost 11 months of inactivity behind him by stopping Spain's Andoni Gago at London's O2 Arena.

The Barry-born fighter, 30, dropped his opponent in round one of the non-title bout and always looked in control.

Selby showed graceful feet in contrast to Gago's block-like movement - and a flurry of punches in round nine saw referee Bob Williams stop the contest.

The victory improves Selby's record to 24 wins from 25 fights.

His win keeps alive hope of a 2017 meeting with Leo Santa Cruz or Carl Frampton.

Such stellar names are high on Selby's agenda and at Friday's weigh in, Selby mouthed "easy work" to fans chanting Frampton's name.

His hopes of fighting either man will much depend on whether Northern Ireland's Frampton and the WBA champion opt to conclude a trilogy of fights.

Fighting three hours before a main event with the O2 Arena barely half full seems a long way from the bright lights of Las Vegas, where Selby suffered the frustration of seeing a bout postponed at 24 hours notice in January.

But he visibly sought to put on an eye-catching show, ducking and weaving, slipping rare attacks with ease and showing variety in the angles of his punches as he worked the body and head consistently.

After this bout, he will no longer fight under promoters Matchroom Sport as he seeks a new direction and in truth, Gago - who has now lost three times in a 21-fight career - was never going to derail any well-thought out plans.

He was brave but there were signs Selby was breaking down the travelling fighter's defences in the sixth, when a straight right rattled through his guard.

A left-hook to the body followed by a snappy straight-right in eight saw Gago pushed to the ropes and a round later it was all over.

Selby landed a left hook to the temple which staggered his opponent and after a left to the body and another hook to the head, the contest was ended.

This was far from the test of 11 months ago, where Selby got up from the first knockdown of his career to defend his title against Eric Hunter.

In truth, he got enough rounds to justify a good workout and his talent is obvious but all eyes will now be on his next move as he bids to inject much-needed momentum into his career.

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