World champion Lee Selby will defend his IBF world featherweight championship title against Josh Warrington in one of 2018’s most anticipated fights live on BT Sport.
The rivals are set to collide on Saturday, May 19th in Leeds and all the action will be on BT Sport 1, BTSport.com and the BT Sport app.
Selby claimed the IBF featherweight crown against Russia’s Evgeny Gradovich in May 2015, with his most recent of five successful defences coming against Eduardo Ramirez in London last December.
Warrington set up the blockbuster all-British showdown with his defeat of the previously unbeaten Dennis Ceylan in a final eliminator clash at the First Direct Arena in Leeds back in October and now has the chance to become the city’s first ever world champion.
Both men know that a potentially greater prize is on offer than the belt itself, with the victor likely to go on to face former two-weight world champion and Frank Warren stablemate Carl Frampton.
“Let’s see what Josh is made of,” stated Selby on his mandatory date being set. “He’s done everything that has been asked of him so far. He’s picked up my vacated titles and beat a lot of my past opponents. To his credit, he’s earned his position as my mandatory challenger and deserves his shot.
“If Josh comes steaming out like he has done in the past that will just play into my hands as I’ll pick him off like I have done with numerous past opponents. If he opts to box on the back foot I definitely can’t see him outboxing me. In fact, there’s no way I can see him beating me.
“The plan is to beat Warrington and then go over to Belfast and beat Frampton too. If I beat Frampton then the world is my oyster. This is a huge year for me and by the end of it I’ll prove to everyone that I’m the number one featherweight in the UK.”
As far as Warrington is concerned, the winner on the night will be sporting the colours of Leeds United as he represents his city on what he is sure will be a history-making occasion.
“By winning this fight, not only do I get my hands on a world title, but it’s a chance to show everyone that I’m the best featherweight in the UK and propel myself on to the world level,” insisted the 27-year-old.
“For the past three or four years our names have always been mentioned together. He’s always been that one step ahead of me and everyone has always looked at him as the number one featherweight in the UK, but that will change on May 19th.
“It’s going to be an entertaining fight for the fans but there’s only going to be one winner and that’s me. He’s not a perfect fighter or a polished fighter, he’s got a lot of weak points and I’m going to exploit them.
“The city of Leeds has been craving a world champion for years and on May 19th I’m going to make history. I’m going to give absolutely everything to achieve my dream - I’m grabbing this opportunity with both hands.”
Promoter Frank Warren added: “This is a fight that has all the ingredients of a classic. It’s the one that we have all been waiting for. There really is no love lost between these two and on May 19th they finally get to settle their feud.
“This is a fan-friendly fight and guaranteed to entertain those in attendance and watching at home. Whether the relentless volume punching of Josh can unhinge the stylish probing of Lee, we’ll have to wait and see. Josh has been working towards this fight his whole life and has the chance to achieve his boyhood dream in his home city.
“Josh forced the issue by becoming Lee’s mandatory challenger and this is the shot he has been waiting for. It is a fight and an event that I’m really excited about, the atmosphere on the night will be worth the admission money alone!
“This announcement comes hot on the heels of news of the all-British WBO middleweight world title fight between Billy Joe Saunders and Martin Murray in April.
"Ourselves and BT Sport are committed to staging and televising the very best domestic fights, and in Selby v Warrington and Saunders v Murray we are doing so.”
On a blockbuster night, Leeds band the Kaiser Chiefs will also be performing live at Elland Road with Warrington set to walk into the ring with 'I Predict a Riot' playing.