LEE Selby will fight to put a heartbreaking year behind him when he defends his IBF world featherweight title in London on December 9.

The 30-year-old has been told that should he succeed at the Copper Box Arena, against an opponent still to be confirmed, he will fight mandatory challenger Josh Warrington next summer.

Thereafter, the match-up with Carl Frampton he has long sought, would become increasingly likely given the Northern Irishman is also working with promoter Frank Warren.

For all that he relishes those prospects, when he returns next month it will be with a heavy heart – his mother Frankie died days before his defeat of Jonathan Victor Barros in July.

Selby had already faced the death of older brother Michael in 2008, and the champion revealed grandfather Peter died following a battle with Alzheimer’s a week after his mother.

“It’s been tough,” said the St Joseph’s ace. “I’ve still got my focus and my goals and what I want to achieve.

“I haven’t had any luck in anything, in boxing, in life in general, so hopefully now my luck is changing.

“He (Peter) was my number one fan. He didn’t come to shows so much as he got older, he got a bit sick so couldn’t really follow me around.

“The boxing, that’s my gateway from everything. That’s when I’m at peace, when I’m spending hours in the gym, that’s when my mind’s clear.”

Selby’s options have been strengthened by Frampton losing his world title after a period when his successful title defences were largely overlooked.

“I wanted the big fights so I went to America but, again, that luck thing kicked in,” he added. “I didn’t get any luck and didn’t secure a big fight.

“It’s not just Frampton, I just want to be involved in the big fights. I’m world champion, you’d expect people to be calling me out left, right and centre.”