News May 2019 speaks to Joe Selkirk


By John Evans

Joe Selkirk

Take a look at any list of the top prospects in Britain and Joe Selkirk’s name will feature prominently. Those in the know see the Liverpudlian as having the potential to reach the very top of the sport. Livefight caught up with Selkirk to find out how he feels he has adapted to the professional game and what he hopes 2011 holds for him.

The 25 year old from Liverpool turned professional in 2008 after a successful amateur career. Although he represented England, won the ABA welterweight championship in 2007 and recorded a win over current British middleweight champion Sam Webb, Selkirk feels he failed to reach his potential in the unpaid ranks. “Even though I'm happy with what I've done I look back an it hurts me that I could have done a lot more if I'd lived the proper life and dedicated myself to boxing. From when I was 18 I had a few personal problems and was always out partying and boxing was always second best to it which you can't do if you want to be successful in the game” he says. “My first year in the ABA’s I was going out drinking in between fights, even when I beat Webb, and before my loss in the final to Brett Flournoy. I was an idiot but I did beat a lot of good names who have done well and are still doing well so I do wish I’d done things differently, maybe picked up a couple more ABA titles and gone to the Olympics and got a medal but it was a big learning curve for me.”

Despite his undoubted potential, Selkirk’s entry into the professional game has been a slow one. Hand injuries have badly curtailed his progress and restricted him to just six outings since his debut in 2008. “My hands have held me back a lot since a year or so before I won the ABA’s” he reveals. “The year I won them I only had one hand I couldn't hit a bag, pad or spar in preparation. All I did was shadow box so it was difficult to get my timing right and prepare myself properly. I fought my first two pro fights with one hand and could only really use my left in training so I got in touch with Mike Hayton the hand specialist who did a career saving operation. Since then it’s been getting stronger and stronger and I'm having no trouble with it. I am still tending to hold back but if I keep busy I'm sure everything will get back to normal and I can start knocking people out with it!”

Injuries apart, Selkirk is enjoying life as a professional and feels his style of fighting gave him a good base to build on. “I think my style fitted in to the pro game quite easily. I was always suited to the pro game and I do find it easier because you can take your time and be more controlled.” While he is happy with how he has adapted, he isn’t resting on his laurels and is trying his utmost to improve his game. “Since I've turned pro I haven’t concentrated on one thing, I'm trying to improve every part of my boxing. I'd like to describe myself as a boxer fighter who can punch. I do try and work on being able to do everything……box long range, short range, on the back foot and on the front foot. I think if your going to go far your style has to be able to do anything because every fights different. What works in one fight might not work in the next so hopefully if I work hard I can have a style to cope with anything.”

Although he has generally weighed in at around the light middleweight limit, Selkirk is often thought of as being one of Britain’s new breed of exciting middleweights. 2011 should be the year that the 160lb division takes off with likes of Commonwealth champion Martin Murray, LA based Craig McEwan and Nick Blackwell beginning to challenge the more established names like Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin. With former amateur foe Webb holding the British title at light middleweight title, Selkirk appears to be spoilt for choice as to which direction to go in. He himself is in no doubts as to where his future lies. “At 154lbs definitely. I don't go over 12 stone and I can make it easily but being tall for the weight I could always move up to 160. The middleweights are all looking strong. There are the likes of Barker, Murray, Macklin and McEwan who are all top boxers and lads. There's definitely some great match ups there and I'd like to see all them fight personally. I've sparred Barker in the amateurs and Macklin in the pro’s an have picked things up of both. I’ve watched McEwan a few times on youtube and when Paul Smith beat him in the Commonwealth Games and he's a classy boxer. Martin Murray is really doing well and I think he deserves to fight for a big title, he's looking good. I do keep my eye on them because one day, you never know, you might have to fight one of them.”

After beginning his career with victories over the likes of Matt Scriven and Ernie Smith, Selkirk was given a sterner test in his fifth professional fight when he was matched with the then 12-0 Steve O’Meara. Fighting in front of his home crowd on Frank Warrens ‘Return Of The Magnificent Seven” bill, Selkirk came away with a unanimous points decision after six rounds but was less than pleased with his performance. “To be honest I was devastated with the way I boxed against O’Meara” he says. “I don't think I could have fought worse if I tried. I didn't get out of first gear throughout the fight. A lot of my good mates like Stephen Smith and Tony Bellew were speaking highly of me on forums and things like that and I felt that after boxing like that people will judge me on it. On that performance I'd be lucky to win an English title never mind anything else. So I did feel like I let people down, myself especially.”

Selkirk could well get the chance to redeem himself soon. Warren seems to have decided to let his promising fighters off the leash and his stablemates Frankie Gavin and James DeGale have been moved towards British level relatively quickly. Although he didn’t achieve the same level of amateur success as that pair, his natural talent combined with a new dedication to the sport and a healthy pair of hands mean it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Selkirk follow their lead and be in the mix for domestic titles before the end of the year. “Yes I do want to be moved quickly and I believe that with two hands and boxing to my ability I can definitely compete at that level even after having just six fights. To be honest Frankie and Chunky are performing at the minute and they've fought regularly both amateur and professionally over the last four or five years. I think I've had 10 fights amateur and pro since 2006 which isn't enough and I think that’s half the reason why I haven’t boxed anywhere near what I can in the pros.”

He doesn’t want to be given opportunities based purely on reputation and potential though believing that all chances should be earned through his actions in the ring. “I don't want to be moved quickly just because I've beaten people who've got the titles. I want to be moved because I'm performing to my best and give myself the best possible chance to go further than that. I do believe I could win the British title in under 10 fights, I just need a few more fights under my belt first.”

With his injuries and out of the ring problems hopefully behind him, Selkirk is desperate to start making inroads and make 2011 the year he makes his mark. “If I could make my own matches I would just make myself a bit busier. I wish I could fight every month but realistically I’d like to have four fights by December and in that four fight O’Meara again. If I've come through ok, then fight for the British title against Webb or whoever else has got it. That would be perfect for me so fingers crossed!”


Newsletters Signup