Warrington relieves Selby of IBF featherweight belt

LEEDS, England (AP) Josh Warrington ended Lee Selby’s near three-year reign as IBF featherweight champion by split decision after a 12-round thriller on Saturday.

Warrington was a clear underdog with the bookmakers but backed by an estimated 25,000-strong crowd in his hometown, he rose to the challenge against Welsh visitor Selby and remained unbeaten.

Two judges gave it to Warrington 116-112 and 115-113, and a third scored it for Selby 115-113.

Selby (26-2) was expected to make his superior height and reach count against Warrington (27-0), who received a deafening welcome to the ring, with rock band Kaiser Chiefs performing his entrance music live.

Selby came off the worst from clashes of heads: The first in the second round caused blood gushing from around his left eye throughout the fight, and the second in the sixth opened a bloody cut above his right eye.

Warrington was relentless through the early rounds, and Selby rallied from the eighth.