Having practically run out of viable domestic challenges, Lee Selby is on a roll. With Europe the next logical step, the Welsh featherweight's much anticipated assault on the continent begins on the Luke Campbell debut undercard at Craven Park Stadium, Hull on Saturday.
WBC International featherweight champion Viorel Simion of Lehliu Gară, Romania, is the first step towards an EBU title-shot for Selby. The 31 year old, a professional since 2006, is unbeaten in 16, with 7 KOs. He will be making the third defence of the WBC International belt, which he won back in July 2011.
Simion is ranked third in Europe, just one place above Selby, making the fight important in terms of positioning for a title-shot. The Romanian uses a bustling, bobbing style and looks a useful inside fighter. His left hook to the body looks a very dangerous shot. Fighting from outside, Simion uses a double jab and straight right hand, but his forte is coming forward and applying pressure, looking to land punches in bunches.
He has fought outside of his native Romania twice - in Spain and Canada, so has experience in being the away fighter, although his level of opposition has not been impressive thus far, and he is not difficult to hit. Despite only seven stoppages on his record, Viorel looks to have respectable power. He has navigated the full twelve round distance on two occasions and looks a durable sort.
26 year-old Selby (15-1, 6 KOs) holds the advantages in height (approximately three inches) and reach, along with greater hand speed and power. But this is a tough assignment for the confident, swaggering Welshman and it will be interesting to see how trainer Tony Borg’s charge deals with one of Europe’s best in the division. I expect Simion to make a good fight of it.