How Lee Selby’s knock-out punch made his friends and family a mint
Gary Baker on 21/12/2011
There was no pressure on Barry featherweight Lee Selby to win his British and Commonwealth title fight against unbeaten Liverpool 26-year-old Steve Smith in September.
But, so the legend goes at his boxing stable, bookies rated him such a rank outsider to even lay a glove on Smith that they offered odds of 100-1 on him winning by a knock-out.
So, unknown to the Welshman, his friends and family ploughed on the cash - and they reaped the rewards when 24-year-old Selby, in only his 12th fight of his pro career, finished Smith off in the eighth.
One friend reeled in £22,000 from it, while others had a nice payout as well.
Suffice to say that the odds shrank dramatically for Selby's first defence of his title this month when he was only 9-2 to win by a knock-out or technical knock-out.
And he was just about evens with Scottish opponent John Simpson to win the fight overall.
Selby's brother Andrew could hit the headlines next year when he fights for Great Britain at the London Olympic Games, having secured his place in November.
So the amateur and professional arms of the Selby boxing legacy are neatly covered and the professional brother is hoping for as equally as glorious 2012 as not just his sibling but also that Lee enjoyed during 2011 as his star began to shine brightly.
Both men train at St Joseph's Amateur Boxing Club in Newport which is fast becoming a huge stable for champions, with Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sean McGoldrick one of a stream of fighters that have been nurtured by coaching guru Tony Borg.
Lee Selby said: "I first started boxing at the age of eight. I followed my older brother and then my younger brother (Andrew) followed me. Now he is in the Olympic team.
"I had my first fight when I was ten and boxed as an amateur until I was about 21 and then turned pro.
"Within the last year, I've won the Welsh Area title, the Celtic title and the British and Commonwealth. So it has been fantastic.
"Hopefully next year, I'm going to have a shot at the European title, which would be great as well."
The Selbys could have gone to any gym but chose St Josephs because of Borg's reputation, which was officially recognized at the Sport Wales Coach of the Year Awards last month.
"It is the best year that the gym has had since it has been open and I've got some good sparring partners. I would also say that Tony is the best trainer in Wales as well."
So what makes a champion, especially when your livelihood depends on it? Continual training - even on Christmas Day - is the key.
Selby said: "My daily routine is I will run in the morning for anywhere between five and ten miles, I will go to the gym at 11am and spa for 12 rounds, train on the pads and then back in the gym later in the evening.
"That's every day, although I try to have at least one day off a week."
So the Selby household should be terrific on Christmas Day, with both Lee and Andrew reflecting on a tremendous year.
But if anyone is driving around the Barry area on Christmas morning, look out for one or probably two guys pounding the roads because work does not stop for the Selby brothers.
However, after a bit of exercise, Lee said: "Hopefully, I will have a jolly Christmas with a fat belly from too much Christmas dinner."
Then it is back to serious training, shedding the extra festive pounds and looking forward to a bright 2012 as Welsh boxing at both amateur and professional levels shines again.
The only downside being that never again should Lee Selby be a 100-1 outsider to beat someone by a knock-out!
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