Boxing is starting to fill the summer schedule very nicely. Next Saturday, live from The State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA, Showtime will return with a PPV card. The main event will feature Gervonta Davis (24-0) moving up to face WBA Super Lightweight Champion Mario Barrios (26-0).
As interesting as the main event is, the focus of this piece is on Super Lightweight prospect Stacey Selby (2-0). Selby is a nineteen-year-old fighter from the North-West region of Washington, D.C. Like most fighters, he has dreams and aspirations of becoming a star in the sport.
Often, it’s a roll of the dice whether a prospect with those early eye-catching knockouts, actually make it. Once they start increasing the level of their opposition, that's when the average and great are separated. There may be something that is different in this case as Selby trains out of the Upton Boxing Gym in Baltimore, MD. For those that don't know, Coaches Calvin Ford and Kenny Ellis are the ones that run that gym.
In recent years, the Upton Gym has been known to have some young raw talent walk into their building. Within time, that talent turns from accomplished amateurs to quality Pros. Some of those names are Gervonta Davis, Super Lightweight Malik Hawkins (18-1), and Middleweight Lorenzo Simpson(9-0), just to name a few. A real family bond is developed amongst those on that team, and it translates to victories and/or hard-fought battles in the ring.
Unlike other fighters who had some challenges growing, Stacey Selby had a different story. When asked, he said “I had a nice up bringing, finished school and had both parents in my household”. More often than none, we hear stories of the sport being an avenue some take to stay out of a toxic environment. For Stacey, it was football at first until his father took him to a boxing gym as he “was always getting in trouble” and felt he needed “one on one attention.”
There wasn’t an immediate attraction to the sport. The nineteen-year-old said, “It took me a little bit to warm up to it but eventually started liking it”. Stacey ended up having a successful amateur career that posed a 90-20 record which resulted in six national championships.
While working with Calvin and Kenny, it was only a matter of time he would run into “Tank”. When asked about their bond, Shelby said “I met him when I started training at Upton Boxing about 3 or 4 years ago. Me and Tank have been cool for about 2-3 years.” That bond led to Shelby signing a promotional deal with Gervonta Davis last year. As far as how the deal came about, Stacey says that “The deal basically happened through the bond we have so when he brought to me, I was like, come on let’s do it.”
Being signed to Gervonta Davis is one thing but sparring him is another. This is an experience that any young fighter would probably jump at if given the opportunity. When Selby spoke about those sessions, he said “I sparred him a couple of times”. While also adding that “He teaches me some things that I should and shouldn’t do. Every time we get in the ring it’s always good work”. That work included getting Gervonta Davis ready for his fight last December against Leo Santa Cruz.
So now Stacey has the task of living up to the expectations of a boxing star while also trying to establish himself in his own right. He begins that journey with a fight on the Davis vs. Barrios card which will be a huge step up in venue for someone with only two professional fights. I asked Selby for his thoughts on fighting on such a big event, and he simply answered “I’m just a little anxious to showcase my skills on this card.”
For those that arrive early enough to see Selby’s fight, he describes his style as a “boxer-puncher”. He also had this to say about what to expect next Saturday “Fans will witness a great fight. I don’t go in there looking for a knockout so if it comes it comes but I’m definitely going to put on a show come June 26th.”
My Three Cents:
Stacey Selby is one of many boxing prospects in the game. What makes him different is that he is being groomed by the team behind the Upton Boxing Gym. They don’t dedicate their time to just anyone, so if Calvin and Kenny are working with him, then I have to believe they see some potential in him. Only time will tell if this young Super Lightweight becomes a star in the sport but for now, it’s important to make a lasting impression on opportunities like the one coming up on June 26th.
It’s great seeing these young fighters develop from the start. Capturing their story early and bringing it to the world, is how we continue to grow the sport. Will Stacey Selby become the next hot prospect out of the DMV area? Only time will tell but he certainly has the right team around him to get ready for what lies ahead. Keep an eye out for him.