Lee Selby: Who will the Welsh boxer face after Las Vegas nightmare?

Lee Selby
Lee Selby has not fought since he defeated Eric Hunter in April, 2016

Lee Selby should find out who, where and when he will fight next, in the coming days, after his IBF world title defence against Jonathan Victor Barros was cancelled.

The 29-year old Welshman only fought once in 2016 and after being denied the chance to perform in Las Vegas, says he is desperate to return to the ring as quickly as possible.

In a red-hot featherweight division, there are several names being floated as potential opponents to face the Barry boxer.

So now the dust has settled on Leo Santa Cruz's victory over Carl Frampton, delaying or denying the prospect of a British super fight between Selby and Frampton, BBC Wales Sport assesses Selby's options going forward.

Santa Cruz and Frampton
Carl Frampton's defeat to Leo Santa Cruz was a further blow to Lee Selby's plans as it scuppered a potential British super fight with Frampton

Who is next?

Jonathan Victor Barros - The IBF insist that Barros is still the mandatory challenger. They have told BBC Wales Sport that they still want this fight to still happen.

The Nevada Athletic Commission did not give an explanation other than the Argentine had not met its requirements when they refused to sanction the fight scheduled in Vegas.

If Barros is eligible for a return to the ring, he remains the most likely opponent.

Josh Warrington - If Selby v Barros does not happen Warrington is number two on their rankings list and next in line for a mandatory shot. Warrington has been calling out Selby for a couple of years and would love the opportunity. He recently signed a promotion deal with Frank Warren.

Oscar Valdez - The current WBO world champion and the favoured option of the Selby camp if the Barros fight does not happen. A unification bout would supersede a mandatory defence. Valdez might, however, prefer to seek a unification fight with Santa Cruz.

Abner Mares - WBA regular world champion. Selby would have to vacate his IBF title for this fight to happen. Mares has said he would be willing to come to Cardiff, but the fight is unlikely to be lucrative enough to justify Selby vacating his title. Mares is also being mentioned as an opponent for Carl Frampton, if there is any delay to Frampton v Santa Cruz III.

Carl Frampton - Former WBA world champion who lost rematch with Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas. Promoter Barry McGuigan favours a third fight against Santa Cruz, in Belfast, but uncertainty means Cyclone Promotions are looking at other options, including Abner Mares. A fight with Selby would also appeal.

Leo Santa Cruz - WBA world champion. He could favour a defence against Abner Mares or target a unification fight with Valdez rather than an instant third meeting with Frampton. A fight with Selby might be more realistic for 2018.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Lee Selby: Behind the scenes with world champion boxer

Where and when?

There are limited option for Selby if he wants to fight in the near future, but it is understood he is already returning to the ring to begin training and that negotiations are underway to add him to one of the following cards.

Saturday, 25 February, Alabama: Deontay Wilder v Gerard Washington bill (Showtime)

Saturday, 4 March, London: David Haye v Tony Bellew (Matchroom Promotions)

Saturday, 4 March, New York: Danny Garcia v Keith Thurman (Showtime)

Saturday, 25 March, Manchester: Anthony Crolla v Jorge Linares (Matchroom)

Saturday, 29 April, London: Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko (Matchroom)

Selby interview
Lee Selby said he was "ready to cry" when he had to announce his world title defence in Las Vegas had been cancelled

Who has said what?

Jamie Sanigar (Selby's promoter): "There is a chance he could fight on March 4, but there are also opportunities in America and we're just waiting to work out what we can do."

Lee Selby (on Mares and Frampton): "Mares is a fight I would take straight away,"

"He's a big star in America so a fight between me and him, wherever it took place, over here or back in the UK, it would do massive numbers.

"The plan for Vegas was I would have boxed and won and looked good. "Frampton would have won and then that would have set up a unification fight for the summer back home.

"The worst case scenario was what happened. I didn't even fight and Frampton got beat. It's put things back a bit."

Josh Warrington: "I'm sick of hearing his (Selby's) name. If the contract gets put to me tomorrow I'll sign it no problem. If he comes to Leeds he's getting beat, simple as that."

Abner Mares: "I'll go to his (Selby) country and fight him. I've got no problem with that because that's the type of fighter I am."

Barry McGuigan (Carl Frampton's promoter): " I think it's important for him to get rid of the ring rust… Lee hasn't had a lot of fights over the past couple of years.

"We are interested in a fight with him at some stage in the not so distant future, maybe in the next fight."

Oscar Valdes: "I want to show the world I'm capable of fighting those kind of guys, the big names in that division."

Top Stories