Big Fight Preview: Lee Selby-John Simpson British And Commonwealth Title Clash

By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro

New kids on the block, Francis and George Warren, have pulled out all the stops to ensure that their 14th December Queensberry promotions event, at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London – and broadcast live on BoxNation (Sky platform ch. 456) – is a fitting finale to a rather excellent year of British Boxing in the Capital.

Headlining the event Francis and George have Lee Selby defending his British and Commonwealth Featherweight titles for the first time against former champ John Simpson, who has held both straps at various times throughout his illustrious career.

Selby sensationally stopped Liverpool’s previously unbeaten Stephen Smith to lift the belts on only his eleventh pro outing back in September.

Selby, 24, was unfancied against the champion, especially as the fight was on Smith’s home turf, however the young Welshman dominated the centre of the ring throughout. Selby decisively secured victory on the two minute mark of the eighth round, after letting rip with a left-handed counter to send Smith crashing to the canvas and out cold.

Lee Selby with his coveted British and Commonwealth belts at the TRAD TKO Gym in London

The aforementioned Stephen Smith is a common denominator in this intriguing match-up, as it was the Liverpudlian that took, on separate occasions, both the British and Commonwealth straps from Simpson.

Simpson’s first encounter, in September 2010, with the younger brother of then British Super Middleweight Champion Paul Smith see him relinquish his Commonwealth belt after a storming twelve round war.

Three months later Simpson beat Martin Lindsay to lift the Lonsdale belt, which ultimately set up a return match with Smith in April this year. Yet another close all out war ensued, after which Simpson was again relieved of his coveted belt by the Liverpudlian

Even with Smith out of the equation this time you can bet that just as Simpson will be going all out to regain the British and Commonwealth straps, young Selby will be equally determined to hold on to the hard earned titles.

It’s fairly hard fight to call and has all the makings of a classic. My feelings are the early rounds will be a bit of a chess match, with Simpson keeping it long and working behind his excellent jab, whilst Selby will be looking to counter at every opportunity. As the fight progresses it is likely to liven right up, Simpson will be looking to box and Selby countering in fine style before letting off big bombs at every opportunity.

I’m not going to give any predictions on who is likely to take the belts home, but will say that the more I size this fight up the more I am convinced that it’s not going to go the distance.

Heading up the support the Warren boys have Steve O’Meara defending his recently won Southern Area Light Middleweight title, against upcoming TRAD TKO star ‘Sugar’ Nathan Weise

Back in September O’Meara sensationally knocked out defending champ, and local rival, Ryan Toms with a stunning pin point accurate left hook to the chin in the dying seconds of the first round.

Whilst not known as a concussive puncher O’Meara sure made a point with that stunning shot. As such Weise will need to ensure that his defense is up to scratch, something I’m sure trainer Mark Tibbs and manager Johnny Eames are already working on.

Weise is a stylish purist, right out of the ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard mould, his sublime movement and fluid combinations make him a joy to watch and a real handful for any opponent.

In his last bout Weise had a six round war with former Champ Toms and if it wasn’t for a visit the canvas, in the third, he was on course for another fairly comfortable win, however due to having to take the count instead he had to settle 57-57 draw.

The clash of styles, between O’Meara and Weise, makes this a very interesting match up, one that is going to be an all action thriller. As with Selby-Simpson this is another tight one to call, saying that I have a sneeky feeling that the supremely talented Weise is likely to be just too slick and elusive for O’Meara.

In addition to O’Meara-Weise Francis and George Warren have put together an excellent undercard, featuring undefeated young prospects such as Slough teen sensation George Michael Carman, Cranham’s Lee Markham as well as a pair of Nathan Weise’s TRAD TKO gym mates, Canning Town’s Freddie Turner and Dagenham’s Ediz Hussein.

Francis and George Warren’s Queensberry promotions event, headlined by the British and Commonwealth Featherweight title clash between Lee Selby and John Simpson. takes place at the York hall in Bethnal Green, and broadcast live on BoxNation (Sky Platform Ch. 456), on Wednesday the 14th December 2011.

Tickets, priced £60 (Ringside) and £40 (Standard Seated), are available now on-line at or from the TRAD TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA