Selby-Munroe Preview 1st Feb 2014

By Steve Bateson on January 29, 2014
Selby-Munroe Preview 1st Feb 2014

Matchroom Boxing is back this Saturday night, live from the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, headlined by the European Title clash between Lee Selby (17-1 with 6 KO’s) and former world title challenger, Rendall Munroe (27-3-1 with 11 KO’s).

Selby had an impressive 2013 with four victories under his belt (Martin Lindsay, Corey McConnell, Viorel Simion and Ryan Walsh) and now he looks to continue that streak as he inches closer to a world championship tilt later this year. But in his path is Munroe and this could prove to be the biggest test of Selby’s career so far, if Munroe can turn back the clock then he will fancy his own chances of leaving Wales with the European and British Featherweight Championships.

Munroe is a high quality operator, two victories over current IBF Super Bantamweight Champion Kiko Martinez and former WBC Super Batamweight Champion Victor Terrazas prove that, but it is fair to say that he isn’t the same fighter he was just three years ago. He has a high workrate and a solid punch output but his defeats to Toshiaki Nishioka (Munroe’s only shot at a world title) and more recently against WBA Super-Bantam Champion Scott Quigg suggest that he may no longer possess the tools to hang tough at the highest level. If Selby wants to prove he is destined for greatness then dispatching this opponent is vital.

Selby is very talented, a great variation on his punches, but does have a tendency to showboat and take his eye off the ball, not something he can afford to do on Saturday night. Munroe will close the distance and attempt to make this uncomfortable for his Welsh counterpart but over a full twelve round distance I would expect Selby to pull away on the scorecards, using his size and reach advantage, to secure another notable win. I am still unconvinced that he has what it takes to shine on the world stage but this weekend will be a good indicator as to what the future may hold.

Chief Support is provided by former WBA light-Welterweight champion, Gavin Rees (37-3-1 with 18 KO’s) against Gary Buckland (27-3 with 9 KO’s) in an all Welsh-affair. Both boxers are coming in off the back of defeats (Rees to Anthony Crolla and Buckland a devastating knockout against Stephen Smith) so they each find themselves at somewhat of a cross-roads, but who can forge themselves a path back into domestic contention for the summer?

Rees is rightly the favourite, he has mixed in much higher company, but his last victory was July 2012 (9th round stoppage of Derry Matthews) followed by defeats from Crolla and WBC Lightweight Champion, Adrien Broner so will be interesting to see how he bounces back. Rees is a pressure fighter, he will cut down the distance and look to rough up Buckland on the inside, his bobbing and weaving movements will cause his opponent problems as he attempts to open up opportunities for himself.

But Buckland is a decent operator himself, his two victories over Gary Sykes and one over Derry Matthews show us that he can get the job done against skilled boxers and dangerous punchers, and he will view this bout as a chance to move himself back into the mix for a British title shot later this year. Buckland does have power but it is his boxing skills that are vastly underrated, he will try to use his jab to stop Rees coming in whilst probing for openings that may arise should Rees start to tire (something we have seen in the past).

This fight is an intriguing one, “The Rock” is the heavy favourite but we don’t know how much back to back defeats have taken out of him. At 33, he could be starting to feel the effects of his career and if that is the case then Gary Buckland has a great chance of pulling off an upset. The Lightweight division is one of the best in Britain right now and both fighters will want to be a part of big domestic and international clashes later this year and into 2015.

A tough call but Rees to survive a few scary moments and come through with a late flurry to finish Buckland off in the 11th round

The undercard:

Olympic gold medallist and Heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua (3-0 with 3 KO’s) continues his rise to prominence on Saturday night with a 6 rounder against Dorian Darch (7-2 with 1 KO). Joshua is set for big things and this will be another comfortable victory for the likeable Londoner as he builds himself toward stardom in the next twelve months.

Jason Cook (25-5-1 with 15 KO’s) will step into the ring for the final time as he goes up against Tony Pace (4-6-1) for the Welsh Area Light-Welterweight title. Cook will be looking to end his career on a high and he has the skills and experience to make that happen against an opponent who has lost more fights than he has won.

Erick Ochieng (14-2 with 4 KO’s) looks to bounce back from defeat against Liam Smith last year when he takes on Wales’ rising star Dale Evans (7-1-1 with 3 KO’s). This should be a very competitive Welterweight clash and a good indicator as to whether either man has the ability to rise to British level.

Prizefighter winner and undefeated Chris Jenkins (12-0 with 5 KO’s) will face Frenchmen Christopher Sebire over eight rounds whilst unbeaten Welterweight Tamuka Mucha (6-0 with 1 KO) will square off with Leon Findlay over four.

Former European Champion, Kerry Hope(19-6 with 1 KO) is back in his home country whilst Tobias Webb (13-2-1 with 2 KO’s) will also make an outing against Nathan King.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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