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In this installment of Between Rounds, we take a look at the world title eliminator between Lee Selby and George Kombosos Jnr. Originally scheduled for May 9th, now rescheduled for July 11th. It will be held at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, and broadcast on SkySports and DAZN.
This is a huge fight in the Lightweight division, between two genuine title contenders. The winner will earn their shot at IBF Lightweight Champion Teofimo Lopez. Let’s take a look at the style and skill matchup between these two.
A look at Lee Selby
Selby sits at #1 in the UK and #4 in the world Lightweight rankings, he previously held the IBF Featherweight title from 2015 to 2018. He has a 28-2 professional record, with a lot of world-class opponents under his belt.
The Welshman has a big reach for the Lightweight division, at 175cm. He gives away an inch in height to Kambosos but maintains a reach advantage. He’s used this reach to great effect throughout his career and will plan to do the same against Kambosos.
Selby is a smart and adaptive counter-puncher. He prefers to stay on the outside, using his fantastic head movement and foot speed to neutralize boxers as they come at him. He is tactically a very astute sportsman, who can formulate and stick to effective game plans without getting goaded into making mistakes.
He is an incredibly accurate puncher and more importantly, he is able to set his counters up with his positioning, you can see when he fights that he can take stock in the early rounds, figuring out the opponent’s approach. Once he’s spotted patterns, which he’s great at, he’s quick to adapt and use his movement to set up the shots he’s picked. Lee Selby isn’t just a great counter-puncher because of his reactive abilities, he’s a proactive counter-puncher who is able to set the pace, lure his opponents in, then execute.
As a professional Selby has shown himself to be an evasive fighter, always moving and choosing quicker shots over heavy ones. He’s not afraid to box smart, sometimes boring, to outpoint his opponents. This has led to Selby being underappreciated as a puncher, his 30% KO ratio is deceiving.
As an amateur Selby was more in the habit of setting his feet and unleashing heavier shots. He was extremely effective with this and could definitely KO his pro opponents. However, Selby has adapted to the increasing talent of his opponents and changed his style, staying lighter on his feet and sticking to a great gameplan. If it comes to it, Selby can land the goodnight shot, but he’s not looking for it at all costs, which speaks to his intelligence and tactical prowess.
Even when it gets hectic, even when he’s been hurt, Selby doesn’t get dragged into a dogfight. He follows a similar gameplan to the one Klitschko used to dominate the Heavyweight division for a decade; out-box, use the reach advantage and stay on the outside. If the power shots come, they come, but if they don’t then stick to the plan. He can catch people coming in, step back out, and find new angles to land his shots. When someone gets inside on Selby he doesn’t let them stay there, he maneuvers and cuts the angles, he rarely goes straight back.
The way to fight Selby would be to stay on him, don’t allow him the space and time to dictate the pace. At all costs, his opponent will need to avoid going straight at him, as he’ll just counter and land with his speed and accuracy.
Instead, they’d have to vary the angles and levels, switch up the punches between jabs, overhands, lead hooks. Vary the levels and distance by shooting inside for body hooks, body-jabbing from outside, step left and right while moving in to attack from the side. This leads us perfectly to our next man.
A look at George Kambosos Jr.
Kambosos, Ferocious, his name is apt. He’s a pressure fighter, a great puncher, and has incredibly fast hands. Kambosos is really the nightmare matchup for Selby on a stylistic level, the precise game plan that would seem most effective against the Welshman is the one that Kambosos has built his career on.
Kambosos is ranked #1 in Australia and sits at #16 Worldwide. He has a record of 18-0, with his most recent and impressive win coming over former IBF Lightweight champion Mickey Bey.
Kambosos showed incredible lateral head movement and defensive abilities during that fight. He was fast, never came straight forward, and used a huge variety of punches to frustrate Bey.
Bey had a hard time defensively as Kambosos, even when Bey was covering up, would come in close to land heavy shots to the body then step out and to the side to throw jabs and straights from range. Kambosos didn’t settle on his feet, he would plant to throw bombs then loosen up and keep moving.
Despite not having the level of experience that Selby has against championship-class opponents, Kambosos has shown that he’s able to provide trouble to boxers of that level. He’s been Pacquiao’s sparring partner for his last few fights, which will have given him a lot of confidence, technicality and will genuinely have improved him as a boxer immensely. Kambosos was chosen as Pacquiao’s sparring partner for a reason; because he’s ready to fight at that level and is dangerous to men of that caliber.
Between the two of them, Kambosos looks to be the puncher. He has numerous highlight-reel worthy body shots, downing Krai Setthaphon and stunning Qamil Balla, Mickey Bey, and Richard Pena with short hooks and uppercuts.
How could the fight play out?
Selby will show us exactly what we expect from him. He will stay light and fast on his feet, he’ll come to box not to fight. Expect to see Selby working the jab very effectively, maneuvering around Kambosos, and landing a variety of punches from various angles. Selby will try to be hard to read, he won’t want to settle into any patterns and will want to lure Kambosos towards him so he can counter as he steps away.
Kambosos will come out strong from the start, staying on the inside of the ring, moving towards Selby, and generally playing the cat to Selby’s mouse. Kambosos will be the more aggressive, more explosive puncher and will take most of the initiative to start the exchanges.
With both men being so fast on their feet and having such great movement, we’ll see a lot of big misses from either side. Both fighters will be wary of tiring, but Selby will be more concerned with controlling the pace as he’ll be looking to outpoint the more aggressive Australian.
Kambosos will be coming in with his head low and forward, with his hands up by his chin, a lot of lateral movement as he tries to find the right angles of attack.
If the fight goes to the distance we would expect to see Selby winning a close point decision. If anyone hits the canvas in the early-to-mid rounds it’s likely to be Selby, as the fight goes on Kambosos will have a harder time maintaining his aggression and work-rate.
Ultimately we see Selby coming through with the UD, but Kambosos will not make it easy for him and the fight will have its explosive moments, Selby might even have to peel himself off the canvas to get this win.
Who do you think takes it? Let us know in the comments below. To gear you up for this fight watch Selby v Josh Warrington, Omar Douglas, and Johnathan Victor Barros. Watch Kambosos v Mickey Bey, Richard Pena, and Qamil Balla.