News November 2013

Joe Selkirk: Heffron will bring out the best in me


By @shaun_brown

Maybe, just maybe, we will begin to see the very best of Joe Selkirk 11-0 (5 KOs) when he takes on Oldham's Ronnie Heffron 14-1 (5 KOs) at the Echo Arena, Liverpool on Dec 7.

In a fascinating North-West England battle, Selkirk will aim to put periods of frustration, inactivity and injury behind him as he looks to win his first professional title when he and Heffron, 23, fight for the vacant WBO European Light Middleweight belt live on Boxnation.

As soon as Selkirk vs. Heffron was announced, the label of ‘good trade fight’ was immediately thrust upon it and it’s easy to see why. Style will clash with aggression and the 28-year-old Selkirk hopes an opponent as tough as Heffron will bring out the potential that has him pegged as one of Liverpool’s brightest, yet unrealised talents.

“It’s a massive fight and a massive opportunity for me,” Selkirk told Live Fight from
his training camp in Lanzarote.

“These are the type of fights I’ve been wanting and I’ve been held back because of my injuries. Hopefully after this fight I can push on, get more fights and win titles.”

And Selkirk is certain of what type of fight he’s in for next month.

“It’s going to be a tough fight but I’m confident that if I’m fit I can make it a lot easier for me. Ronnie’s good, he’s game, he’s fit and obviously he’s going to come to win. He will probably be the best fighter I’ve fought so far and I’m hoping he’ll bring the best out of me. I know he’s going to come to fight because Ronnie can only fight one way. I think he’ll get himself knocked out. I can’t wait for it to be honest.”

During a Boxnation post-fight interview last time out, Selkirk cut a despondent and depressed figure on the ring apron after a lacklustre six-round points’ victory against the then 5-17-1 Kieron Gray. Selkirk had been pencilled in to face Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan a couple of months beforehand but that particular bout fell through. (O’Sullivan went on to fight and lose against Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO International Middleweight title.) His performance against Gray left him feeling as colourful as his opponent’s surname.

“I wasn’t pissed off with myself I was pissed off that I didn’t perform that well,” said Selkirk.

“There’s always been a lot of expectation around me. I wanted to put a performance on and I didn’t really do it but I believe that the better opponent I fight the more it’ll bring out of me. If guys are wanting to come and fight me and test me then that’s when you’ll see the best of me.”

The 154lb division in Britain could do with a Joe Selkirk firing on all cylinders. Brian Rose leads the way after a pulsating and perhaps unexpected victory in a WBO World Title eliminator over the much favoured Javier Maciel a couple of weeks ago. The chasing pack is headed by Selkirk’s fellow Liverpudlain, Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith.

“Liam is [British] champion and one of my best mates so it’s a bit awkward with him really [being in the same division]. But we’re both good enough to go our separate ways. There’s also Jamie Cox out there too so there’s good fights to be made for me.”

And what did he make of Rose’s performance against Maciel?

“Brian Rose could probably out-box most people he faces. I’d never seen any of his opponent, all I knew is that he was a big puncher. Ability wise I thought Brian would be better than him. If he [Maciel] got through then I thought he may hurt Brian, because Brian’s been hurt a couple of times in the past. Brian showed a lot of balls and heart in that fight and did the better boxing, overall, I thought.”

A fight with Rose is out of the picture for the time being but that doesn’t matter to Selkirk right now. What does matter is fighting regularly and making ground on the leading contenders at light middleweight and ensuring that the hand injuries which have blighted his career are a thing of the past. Selkirk admitted he has thought about walking away from the sport but like most fighters’, what can pull you out of that hole is having the right team around you.

When asked, Selkirk struggled to think of any highs during his five-year stint, so far, as a professional.

“It’s been more frustration, to be honest, with the hand injuries and other little injuries. I can’t describe the stress it’s brought to be honest, you wouldn’t believe some of the bad luck I’ve had.

“I’ve thought about packing it in but it’s more in anger really. When I’m frustrated I’ll say ‘I’m not fighting no more, I’m shit and I’m packing it in’. Then after a week I speak to the people around me and I see it doesn’t make sense to pack it in. I look back at where I started and the goals I had and I haven’t reached them yet. So if I can keep looking towards them and keep doing my best then I know I can realise my potential. It’s just about getting past all the frustrating bits.”

Having his camp in Lanzarote and at Matthew Macklin’s MGM Gym in Marbella (which he says he’ll be using more of this year) allows Selkirk to be away from home town distractions.

“It’s better to be out the way of everything. I prefer to stay away when I’ve got a fight coming up,” Selkirk admitted.

“It can be hard when you’re back home because of little things like your girlfriend and your family. My mind can relax a little bit sometimes, I can go off the rails and go on the ale a bit. I don’t go out no more though. I concentrate on just boxing now and even though it hasn’t worked out for me yet hopefully this year and next it can.”

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