Andrew Selby has revealed that deep depression almost forced him to turn his back on boxing altogether before a trip to America alongside world champion brother Lee reignited his passion for the sport.
Selby, 18 months younger than Lee at 27, was one of the world’s most talented boxers in the unpaid ranks and became one of the most decorated amateurs Great Britain has ever produced.
However he fell out of love with boxing after a shock defeat on the very first day of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and admits he thought of hanging up his gloves.
But a trip across the Atlantic alongside Lee, now the IBF featherweight champion of the world, was enough for him to realise he had too much to lose by quitting.
He said: ‘I just really didn’t want to do it anymore. I just got depressed and I wanted to quit altogether.
‘Because I’ve been doing it for so long it just felt like a job and when it becomes like that then it’s easier to think about giving up. But then reality hit me and I thought let’s turn professional.
‘What really got me back into it was going out with Lee to LA and Las Vegas when he was preparing for the Joel Brunker fight.
‘He said ‘why don’t you come along and see it all? Enjoy yourself’. When I got there I loved it and I was training hard, beating people up in sparring, handling top pros.
‘We went to the Wild Card, the Mayweather Boxing Club, all of them. It got me back on the horse, I really enjoyed it and thought ‘let’s give it one more go’.’
The Mayweather Boxing Club, owned by retired great Floyd, became particularly infamous in 2014 when a television programme showed young boxers sparring a 31-minute round, with no breaks, while others appeared to bet on the outcome.
Flyweight Selby said he saw none of that but revealed a current world super-middleweight champion put an end to his sparring.
Selby said: ‘I sparred in there but I didn’t do that actual doghouse stuff. I sparred Lee in there actually. That was until Badou Jack turned up.
‘He wasn’t world champion then but he wanted to do some shadow boxing or something so told us to get out. I didn’t like him much.’
Welshman Selby has since turned professional and racked up a perfect 3-0 record, with two stoppages. He faces Brett Fidoe at the Newport Centre on Friday night knowing victory will set him up for a shot at the British title in just his fifth fight.
Former GB squad team-mate Charlie Edwards could be his opponent for the vacant belt later this year but Selby reckons the 23-year-old, now 7-0, may opt to go down a different route.
He said: ‘Looking at the British flyweight scene I think Edwards is the only other real contender. That’s the only test for me domestically.
‘He won his eliminator for the British title so he is meant to be fighting me for it now but whether he takes the fight is another thing.
‘I saw an interview with him where he said it might be a bigger fight down the line and we could make more money fighting each other once we are both bigger names. He might be right.
‘I was on the GB squad with him for years and I think he has improved since then. We did fight in the amateurs and I beat him. He’s fast but I’ve got more experience.’
Once Selby wins the British title he is in a hurry to reach world title level and hopes to join his brother as champion within the next 12 months.
But currently ruling his weight class is a man considered by many as the sport’s pound-for-pound No.1 Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, the undefeated Nicaraguan star, who currently holds the WBC flyweight belt.
Selby, meanwhile, is not so sure.
‘I think he’s a real strong, tough man,’ he said. ‘But I don’t think he has any real boxing skill.
‘I know he’s not Mexican but he reminds me of one of those typical Mexican style fighters, who walks forward and throws shots.
‘I think if you can put up with him for 12 rounds, handle that power, that’s the main objective and he is there to be boxed.
‘I’m 27, turned pro a little later and have experience of fighting the elite as an amateur. My aim is to win world titles at this weight then move up to super-fly and finish as a bantamweight.’