Selby ran rings around the Russian champion from the off, peppering him with classy shots from all angles, picking off the relentless come-forward visitor at will and making him miss on his rare attacks.
Gradovich – defending his crown for the fifth time and coming into the fight as the IBF boxer of the year – sustained a bad cut by his right eye from an accidental head-clash and Selby’s constant heavy blows made that gash worse and worse by the round, with the referee halting the contest in the eighth round.
The fight went to the judges but the dominance of Selby was clear, and the judges agreed with cards of 79-73, 80-72, 79-73 naming Selby as the new World champion.
“I can’t explain how I feel,” said Selby. “I have been working for this for so long. I started boxing 20 years ago and had my first amateur fight 18 years ago. It means so much and I would like to dedicate this to my brother Michael who is always looking over me.
“When I go into a fight I go it to adapt. In for the first round I go behind the jab, see what they come with and I have that style where I can adapt. If I have to go forward I go forward or I can box on the back foot. I see what they come with, I listen to my corner and I box to my instructions
“I caught him and I wobbled him. I didn’t bother following up, I was going to break him down. He is a similar fighter to my last opponent Joel Brunker so I was planning on breaking him down but we had two accidental clashes of heads and that stopped the fight.”