British featherweight stars Lee Selby and Kid Galahad both picked up dominant victories on Saturday night, setting up some tantalising potential contests in the division.
Selby (25-1) was defending his IBF title, and did so impressively, widely out-pointing Jonathan Victor Barros despite the tragic death of his mother less than a week earlier.
This was the Welshman’s third defence of his world title, although since winning the strap over two years ago he has not managed to land the big fight he has been hoping for.
Wins over Fernando Montiel, Eric Hunter, Andoni Gago and now Barros are all solid enough, but none are even close to being household names.
The oft-mooted option for Selby is Carl Frampton, the Northern Irish two-weight world champion, although now without a belt to his name after his loss to Leo Santa Cruz last time out.
Frampton (23-1) boxes Andres Guttierez this month in a bout he should win handily, and then he could be free to line up a clash with Selby.
Barros was Selby’s mandatory challenger so Selby is free to take on an opponent of his choice as long as they are ranked by the IBF – which Frampton is.
Selby said of a potential scrap with Frampton: ‘It’s a fight I’d love. All the British fans would love it’, whilst the Jackal was very respectful toward his rival in the wake of the Barros victory.
With Selby no longer affiliated with Matchroom, it should be a fairly straightforward fight to make in terms of promotion, so we can realistically expect this one next.
What about Kid Galahad?
Galahad (23-0) is lower down the pecking order, despite his impressive unbeaten record, largely thanks to 19-months out of the ring due to a substance-related ban.
However, he has notched up five wins since returning to the ring and the victory over Jose Cayatano on Saturday night saw him pick up the vacant IBF Inter-Continental featherweight title.
This sticks Galahad in amongst the IBF rankings and his own suggestion is that he fights Scott Quigg (33-1-2) in an eliminator for Selby’s IBF strap.
‘Hopefully after this fight I can get an eliminator and get in with the likes of Lee Selby, Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg, said Galahad.
‘Why don’t me and Scott Quigg fight an eliminator and the winner gets to fight Lee Selby?’
Quigg himself beat Cayatano two fights ago and is ranked in the top five by the IBF so this does make sense – if Selby and Frampton are to fight, the winner could then meet Quigg or Galahad.
This seems quite simple, but, as ever in boxing, it almost certainly won’t pan out as you would expect it to – there are other contenders in the division that could be in these men’s futures.
Leeds’ Josh Warrington (25-0) is ranked highly by the WBC, but also by the IBF and he has often been mentioned as a potential Selby foe.
The Yorkshireman has now signed with Frank Warren which could make things a bit tricky, and whether he is ready for the likes of Selby and Frampton is questionable.
However, Warrington v Galahad would be an intriguing clash in an all-Yorkshire battle of Leeds v Sheffield, with the winner potentially getting a shot at world honours.
Selby will also have the option of looking to unify featherweight titles against other champions in the division, something none of his British rivals can offer him.
The other champions at 126lbs are of a very high standard, so it would be a gutsy move, but there is obviously great glory to be gained.
Gary Russell Jr holds the WBC belt, Leo Santa Cruz is the WBA champ and Oscar Valdez owns WBO gold – Selby would not have it easy against any of them.
Whatever the future holds for Selby and Galahad, there are some fantastic match-ups to be made at featherweight, and much like the situation at super middleweight, the majority of them are all-British affairs, which is fantastic news.