Put up or shut up: Lee Selby determined to silence tough-talking Eric Hunter

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Lee Selby has heard all the chirping from “big-mouthed” Eric Hunter. And, frankly, he’s heard enough.

Lee Selby and Fernando Montiel

Lee Selby shoots an overhand right at Fernando Montiel during their fight in October. Selby won a unanimous decision in the first defense of his 126-pound world title. (Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions)

So 126-pound world champion Lee Selby, a native of Barry, Wales, intends to silence the brash Eric Hunter (21-3, 11 KOs) once and for all when the two get it on April 9 at London’s sold-out, 20,000-seat O2 Arena.

The scheduled 12-round clash, which will mark Selby’s second title defense, will precede the heavyweight title showdown between American champion Charles Martin and British challenger Anthony Joshua (Showtime, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT).

“This bloke is one big-mouthed boxer who talks a very good game,” Selby says of Hunter, a lifelong resident of Philadelphia. “But I’ve heard it all before about how a fighter is going to do this and do that, and then when it comes down to the actual fight they don’t deliver.

“I’m in the delivery business, and that means winning. I am only here to win. I’ve got a world title belt around my waist, and that is not going to change. Eric Hunter isn’t going to rob me of something I have worked so hard for.”

Selby (22-1, 8 KOs) earned his title when he defeated Evgeny Gradovich at the O2 Arena in May, then successfully defended it in October with a hard-fought yet lopsided points victory over three-division world champion Fernando Montiel.

Those two fighters entered the ring against Selby with a combined 73-4-2 professional record. Throw in victories over the likes of Rendall Munroe (27-3-1), Joel Brunker (27-0) and Romulo Koasicha (21-3), and it’s clear that Selby has rumbled with—and defeated—some high-caliber opponents in recent years.

On the other hand, Hunter’s track record is less accomplished. His most impressive victory is arguably his 2014 unanimous decision over Yenifel Vicente (then 25-2-2).

I’ve heard it all before about how a fighter is going to do this and do that, and then when it comes down to the actual fight they don’t deliver. I’m in the delivery business, and that means winning. Lee Selby

And while Selby has one blemish on his résumé, Hunter has three, including two losses by disqualification. In 2010, Hunter was thrown out for repeated low blows in the eighth round of a clash with Luis Franco. Three years later, his fight with Mike Oliver was halted by the referee for hitting on the break.

“I look at Hunter’s record, and it doesn’t compare in any way, shape or form with mine,” Selby says. “Most of the fighters he has boxed I’ve never heard of, so for him to go around saying how brilliant he is just smacks of desperation.

“I’m a quality fighter, the best in the featherweight division, and I’m going to show that on April 9.”

Since the disqualification loss to Oliver, Hunter has been in form, winning his last four bouts. That includes a first-round knockout of veteran Antonio Escalante in his most recent fight in May.

So while Selby is convinced that Hunter’s mental and physical boxing skills aren’t on his level, he’s not about to take his opponent lightly.

“I have been training like a dog for this one, because having worked so hard to win my title, I’m not going to throw it all away by cutting corners,” the 29-year-old Selby says. “Hunter will come over here with one intention—to take my title—and I can’t let that happen.”

Another reason for Selby to be laser-focused for this fight: He knows it can lead to bigger and better things in a stacked 126-pound division that includes the likes of fellow titleholders Leo Santa Cruz, Vasyl Lomanchenko and Gary Russell Jr.

Take care of business against Hunter, and Selby—whose partner gave birth to their second daughter, Minnie, last month—knows a big fight and big payday could be on deck.

“I’ve got so many options in the division that another win will open up,” Selby says. “That’s the way I look at this fight: It is an obstacle to overcome in order for me to get my family and my two little baby girls into a better place. It is what drives me.”

For complete coverage of Selby vs Hunter, hit up our fight page.

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