TENSION continues to run high between George Kambosos and Welsh rival Lee Selby.
Since heading to purse bids in January after failing to agree to terms for an initial clash in May, the unbeaten Australian and the former IBF featherweight titleholder have rarely exchanged words.
But in the days leading up to their inevitable IBF lightweight title eliminator on Sunday morning in London, the fuse has been relit by Selby (28-2, 9 KOs) in a video published by promoter Matchroom Boxing.
The 33-year-old referenced the social media accounts of Kambosos (18-0, 10 KOs), where the Sydney-based lightweight regularly posts.
“On social media he’s outspoken and quite arrogant… saying he’s going to do this and do that,” Selby told the event promoter.
“He makes out he’s the next Muhammad Ali. But all you’ve got to do is look at his last fight. You’re only as good as your last fight.”
Although they are yet to compete in an official capacity, Kambosos and Selby have shared the ring before, sparring four rounds at the Wild Card Boxing Club in 2016.
Despite the relative sample, Selby recalls their chance meeting differently to Kambosos, taking offence to the contrasting account offered in a virtual press conference with promoter Eddie Hearn.
“In the gym, he was just quiet, stood next to the ropes,” Selby explained.
“When it was time to spar, he (Kambosos) got in and sparred. Fair play, he looked good. When I got in there, it was just like normal sparring.
“To look at him, he looks like a very good fighter. He’s got fast hands, he looks like he can punch, and he can box a bit. He brings a lot of pressure, he’s young, hungry and ambitious.
“But when he did the e-press conference, he said that every time he hit me, he shook me to my boots.”
When summarising their short-lived session, Selby has dismissed what he considers a false representation by his equally capable counterpart.
“That in itself just gave me extra confidence, knowing he’s willing to make up tales about sparring,” he explained.
“You don’t speak to anybody like that. To me, it’s just disrespectful. But to me, it’s water off a ducks back. It doesn’t bother me… I have very thick skin.”
The eliminator will be Selby’s third fight at lightweight, having jumped two divisions since losing his featherweight crown to English rival Josh Warrington in 2018.
Since changing divisions, Selby has outpointed American Omar Douglas, and more recently three-division world champion Ricky Burns.
Having spent the majority of his time away in the gym, Selby sees the looming date with Kambosos as a rebirth in his new weight class.
“I feel like a fully fledged lightweight now,” he concluded.
“The lockdown hasn’t really effected me. I think I’ve had time to grow into the weight.
“During the lockdown, I was doing a lot of strength work [and] weight training. I could’ve easily left the training alone, started eating, and ballooned up in weight.
“Luckily, I’m disciplined and have been for my whole career.”
The IBF lightweight title eliminator between George Kambosos and Lee Selby will be televised live on Sunday November 1, from 6am AEDT on Fox Sports 507.
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