2016 Olympian Josh Kelly says he’s fighting EBU welterweight champion David Avanesyan next, and he’s already spoken to promoter Eddie hearn and trainer Adam Booth about it today.
The unbeaten Kelly (10-0-1, 6 KOs) is hoping to challenge Avanesyan (26-3-1, 14 KOs) before the end of 2020. If Kelly loses this fight badly to Avanesyan, Hearn needs to think about what he wants to do with him.
Should Hearn cut Kelly lose and put his energy into the young welterweight prospect Conor Benn, or continue to hope that he improves one of these days?
Avanesyan has already tried to fight Kelly, 26, a couple of times, and it hasn’t worked out Hopefully, three’s a charm. If not, Avanesyan needs to move on and put Kelly in his rearview mirror.
Avanesyan has already shown himself to be superior to Kelly in his last three contests, obliterating Kerman Lejarraga twice, and smashing Jose Del Rio in one round.
You’ve got to respect Kelly for finally agreeing to take the fight with the 32-year-old Russian Avanesyan because a lot of boxing fans believe he lacks the nerve to fight him. They also believe that Kelly isn’t talented enough to compete with Avanesyan.
— Josh Kelly (@JOSHPBK) October 4, 2020
It’s unknown right now the date for the Avanesyan vs. Kelly fight. It could be placed on October 31 on the undercard of Oleksandr Usyk vs. Dereck Chisora or on December 12th on the Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev card on Sky Box Office PPV.
Scheduling the Avanesyan-Kelly contest on December 12th will give Kelly some badly needed time to get ready for the fight because he’s going to need it.
Kelly hasn’t shined in his last two fights against Ray Robinson and Wiston Campos. Josh fought the American Robinson to a controversial 10 round draw a year ago on June 1, 2019, on the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr card at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Pretty much the entire boxing world had Robinson winning that fight over Kelly, who spent most of the contest with his back against the ropes, attempting without luck to avoid Robinson’s punches. Josh looked silly on the ropes, trying to dodge all the shots that Robinson threw at him.
What was particularly disappointing was the positive spin that some of the Sky Boxing commentators made afterward, praising Kelly for clearly a poor performance.
No matter how you want to twist it, Kelly looked bad against Robinson and was incredibly fortunate that the judges gave him a draw. Boxing 247 had Robinson winning 8 rounds to 2, and you can argue that 9 rounds to 1 would make sense as well. Kelly is too ineffective with his upper body movement, and he lacks punching power.
Kelly needs to change his fighting style of competing with his hands held low by his waist, as he lacks the reflexes and the proper head movement to get out of the way of his opponent’s shots.
Although Kelly does avoid a lot of the shots targeted at his head, he’s still getting hit way too much for him to continue to use that style. It’s a surprise that Kelly’s trainer Adam Booth hasn’t changed his style to get him away from fighting with a low guard because it’s not working for him.
With Avanesyan facing Kelly next, we could see 2016 Olympic gold medalist Daniyar Yeleussinov (9-0, 5 KOs) face former IBF/WBA 140-lb champion Julius Indongo (23-2, 12 KOs) on November 27th.
Yeleussinov is the same fighter that schooled Kelly in the 2016 Olympics, blanking him 3-0 in a one-sided fight. However, as a professional, Yeleussinov has looked pedestrian in struggling to beat the mediocre opposition that has been put in front of him.
If Kelly loses to Avanesyan, as many are already predicting, then a good fight would be a rematch between Yeleussinov and Kelly in 2021. The loser would be pretty much finished as a serious fighter, but even in the winner, it’s hard to see that guy doing anything either at 147.