Turns out Carl Frampton won’t be the only world champion from the United Kingdom defending a 126-pound world title later this month in Las Vegas.
Lee Selby (23-1, 8 KOs) will return to the United States for a second time January 28 when he makes the third defense of his 126-pound crown against former world champion Jonathan Victor Barros (41-4-1, 22 KOs) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Selby-Barros joins the fight card headlined by the 126-pound world title rematch between champion Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland and former three-division titleholder Leo Santa Cruz.
Selby-Barros will be part of a Showtime Extreme telecast (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) that also features unbeaten 168-pound rising star David Benavidez (16-0, 15 KOs) in an eight-round bout against Sherali Mamajonov (14-1, 7 KOs). The Showtime Extreme broadcast will by followed by Frampton-Santa Cruz on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
Selby, a 29-year-old native of Barry, Wales, is coming off a 12-round unanimous decision over Eric Hunter on April 9 in London. Prior to that, Selby defeated former world champ Fernando Montiel by unanimous decision in Glendale, Arizona, in his first professional fight outside of the U.K.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was a young kid to box in a world title fight in Las Vegas, the mecca of boxing,” Selby said. “I’ve seen U.K. fighters like Lennox Lewis, Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe and Amir Khan box in Las Vegas, and I always knew that’s where I wanted to fight.”
Selby—who won his world title on May 30, 2015, when he dethroned Evgeny Gradovich by eight-round technical decision—will be facing an experienced foe in Barros.
A 32-year-old from Mendoza, Argentina, Barros has six world title fights under his belt, having gone 3-3 in those matchups. He fell to then-champion Yuirorkis Gamboa by unanimous decision in his first title fight in March 2010. Nine months later, he fought for the same title—which by then had been vacated—and scored a seventh-round TKO of Irving Berry.
Barros made two successful title defenses against Miguel Roman (March 2011) and Celestino Caballero (July 2011) before losing a rematch to Caballero (October 2011). He subsequently dropped two of his next three fights—including an eighth-round TKO by future champion Mikey Garcia in Las Vegas—but he’s since rallied to win seven consecutive fights (four by KO).
Most recently, he earned a split decision over Sattoshi Hosono in a title eliminator bout on October 3 in Tokyo.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity to compete for another world title in Las Vegas,” Barros said. “I have worked hard to put myself in this position, and I am going to make the most of it.
“Selby has never faced anyone as dangerous as me, and I plan on making it a long night for him. I am going to become another Argentine world champion and bring the title back to my country.”
Selby acknowledges he’s in for a tough fight against Barros.
“My mandatory challenger is experienced, dangerous and I will not take him lightly,” he said. “I’ve had a strong training camp, and I am 100 percent focused on putting on a show for the American fans and the travelling fans from the U.K.
“My No. 1 objective is to bring my world title back to Wales.”