Superb Selby wins world title

The fight was halted in the eighth, with the champion cut above his left eye due to a head clash, and the scorecards demonstrated Selby???s dominance up to that point ??? the Welshman winning a technical decision with scores of 79-73, 79-73, 80-72.

It was the best performance of Selby???s career so far (now 21-1), with the Barry boy continually picking off his relentless Russian opponent.

Selby landed at will through the first, connecting with hooks and jabs with his left and showed slick evasive skills to get out of the way of Gradovich???s wild swings in the second.

Gradovich stepped up his intensity in the third, but Selby continued to tag him with ease and a good left hook caught the champion on the chin as he advanced. ??

Gradovich responded with a left hook of his own just before the bell and enjoyed some success in the fourth thanks to his persistence and work on the inside. He followed that with his best round, catching Selby with overhand rights in the fifth.

However, Selby responded in superb fashion in the next, wobbling his opponent with a right to the forehead. He was unable to land a substantial follow-up but ended the sixth on the front foot, with Gradovich forced to retreat for the first time in the bout.

Gradovich may have been bleeding heavily from a cut beside his right eye but his toughness was plain to see when he shrugged off a Selby hook to his chin. Selby was winning the war, though, and a firm right finished yet another successful session for the Welshman.??

Into the eighth, Selby continued to prove elusive for Gradovich before a clash of heads opened up a cut above the Russian???s left eye.

With blood running down into his eye, the doctor had no choice to stop the bout ??? but that should take nothing away from Selby???s commanding display.??