Selby retains featherweight title on U.S. debut

Fighting for the first time in the United States and making the first defence of his featherweight world title, Lee Selby, of Wales, won a unanimous decision in a tough fight against Mexico's Fernando Montiel.

The judges scored the fight 119-109, 118-110 and 116-112 for Selby, whose 4-inch height advantage, long jab and busier work rate proved difficult for Montiel to overcome. ESPN scored the fight 116-112 for Selby.

"My jab, reach and speed were my biggest advantages tonight. That was how I got the win," Selby said.

Selby controlled most of the fight from the outside with his jab and right hand, as Montiel tried to get inside and bang him with left hooks with limited success.

Montiel appeared to win some of the middle rounds, backing Selby up with his left hook. In the sixth round, a big one for Montiel, he cut Selby over the right eye, but Selby's corner did a fine job keeping the wound in check.

"All the cuts I've had in my career have come against shorter fighters like [Montiel]," Selby said. "When I got cut tonight in the sixth round, it was the same thing. I caught a head butt."

The scores seemed to be a bit generous toward Selby, who said it was not his best night.

"I was honestly disappointed in my performance," he said. "I got the win, and it was a great feeling to get my first one on U.S. soil. But the fans didn't see me at my best, and a big part of that was Montiel's experience. He's a great fighter."

Montiel (54-5-2, 39 KOs), 36, saw his eight-fight winning streak come to an end. A former flyweight, junior bantamweight and bantamweight titleholder, he was attempting to join Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales and Jorge Arce as the only Mexican boxers to win world titles in four weight classes.

"I thought it was a lot closer fight than the judges had it on the scorecards," he said. "I spent the first few rounds waiting for him to come at me so I could counterpunch. But he wasn't engaging me, so I became the aggressor and brought the fight to him. I honestly think I deserve a rematch. I want to fight him again."

Disappointing performance or not, Selby, 28, is probably on his way to bigger fights. He signed earlier this year with adviser and PBC creator Al Haymon to put himself in position for bigger fights in the United States. Haymon has a number of quality featherweights in his stable who could be future opponents, including world titleholders Leo Santa Cruz, Selby's preferred opponent; Gary Russell Jr.; and Jesus Cuellar. Former titleholder Abner Mares is also a possibility.

Selby, who has trained for his past several bouts in Southern California, was making the first defence of the 126-pound world title he won in London on May 30, when he dominated Russia's Evgeny Gradovich en route to an eight-round technical-decision victory. The fight was cut short because Gradovich suffered a cut over his right eye from an accidental head butt and was unable to continue.