Junior middleweight contender Josh Kelly (14-1-1, 7 KOs) dominated the badly overmatched previously unbeaten Gabriel Corzo (18-1, 3 KOs), beating him by a one-sided twelve round unanimous decision last Saturday night at the Vertu Motors Arena in Newcastle, England.
Corzo spent the entire fight with his back against the ropes, covering up and looking to nail Kelly with an occasional left hook. It was obvious that Corzo was in survival mode the entire contest, as he didn’t let his hands go.
Late in the fight, Corzo started using roughhouse tactics, sticking his head into the face of Kelly to bust him up. He tackled Kelly a couple of times after getting stunned by big shots in the championship rounds.
The 2016 Olympian Kelly did his usual showboating, posing to admire his work after throwing shots and fighting with his hands down by his sides the entire night, which led to him getting hit with quite a few left hooks from Corza.
Kelly made the fight more difficult than it should have been by showboating and throwing single shots. If he had focused on throwing combinations and flurried on Corzo in a sustained manner, he would have got him out of there.
The scores were 117-110, 120-107, and 120-107.
WBO International 154-lb champion Kelly is ranked WBO #2, IBF #7, and WBC #11. He’s in the position to fight for the World Boxing Organization title if champion Jermell Charlo vacates the strap after his September 30th fight against undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez.
If the WBO belt becomes free, Kelly would be faced with the difficult task of facing unbeaten Tim Tszyu for the belt. Kelly says he’d be up for the task and feels that he would make it difficult for Tszyu to hit him.
Kelly fought with injured hand
“Obviously, hurting the right hand, getting heads in the face, having a cut that pushed back the fight, and having to protect the cut and my hand. I was trying to get him out of there at the same time,” said Josh Kelly to iFL TV, giving his thoughts about his fight over Gabriel Corzo.
The victory for Kelly was his fourth since being knocked out in the sixth round by David Avanesyan in 2021. Kelly’s competition has been weak, with him beating these low-level fighters:
- Troy Williamson
- Lucas Bastida
- Peter Kramer
“He was unbeaten. I’ve boxed through unbeaten fighters in the last three fights,” said Kelly, bragging about the guys he’s beaten but forgetting to say that they were the mediocre sort. “I’ve never boxed a guy with a losing record, but I keep winning. Just because of the right hand. I didn’t want to overdo it,” said Kelly when asked if it was a frustrating performance.
Kelly has been facing unbeaten guys, yeah, but poor-quality fighters and not the top-tier contenders he should have been fighting.
“I didn’t want that cut to open because every time I would go to the body, he was putting his head in my face,” said Kelly. “But I decided to put on a show at the end and move and play around and use my skills.
“When someone tries to open up and come at me, you know what I can do, and we just keep it moving. He was sitting there for the uppercut, which is my special shot that I use. I was trying to load up, but after the third round, I stopped using my right hand.
“I started going with left hooks to the body, and he started feeling that. I thought, ‘I’m going to start stepping on it now and getting him out,'” said Kelly.
Corza roughed Kelly up
“When I started getting him out, he started putting his head into my face and opened up a cut on my nose,” said Kelly. “I thought, ‘Be clever here. Don’t try and box for the crowd and for people’s opinions. Just box for yourself and for your career and moving forward and keeping yourself fresh, and that’s what I did.
“Big fights and big names. I’m probably #1 now with the WBO, and it’s open season,” said Kelly when asked what he wanted to do next.
“He’s dangerous, but when I don’t want to be hit, I’m very hard to be hit,” said Kelly when asked about fighting Tim Tszyu potentially for the WBO 154-lb belt if it gets vacated by champion Jermell Charlo.
“That’s a stylistic match-up that I’m confident I can deal with as I get more mature, more confident. I’m improving all the time. You see the best version of myself when someone is there and is a threat and they want to take me out. Against Tim Tszyu, you’ll see the best version of myself.
“Those are big domestic money fights. Who pays the most,” said Kelly when asked about fighting Conor Benn or Chris Eubank Jr. “I’m confident of winning any of those fights. They’re going to try and stick it on me, and you’re going to see the best version of myself,” said Kelly.