Sunderland fighter Josh Kelly will finally step into the ring with European welterweight champion David Avanesyan at the fourth time of asking on February 20. Can Kelly add the European belt to his International title?
David Avanesyan v Josh Kelly Betting Tips & Predictions
Josh Kelly has yet to taste defeat as a professional boxer, he has 10 wins and one draw from his 11 fights, and he will be looking to remain undefeated when he takes on European welterweight champion David Avanesyan.
The 26-year-old is an Olympian and competed in Rio in 2016, out of his 10 victories he has managed to win six of them by way of knockout and four by decision. His only draw was back in June 2019 when he made his American debut against Ray Robinson.
This was an intriguing fight with Kelly dominating early on, before being pegged back by Robinson. It went to the judge’s scorecards and one judge scored it 96-95 in favour of Kelly, while the other two judges had it level at 95-95 each.
Russian Avanesyan is the defending European welterweight champion and has held this belt since he beat Spain’s Kerman Lejarraga in March 2019. He has since defended the title on two occasions, he knocked out Lejarraga in the first round of their rematch before doing the same to Jose Del Rio in December 2019.
Avanesyan is a very experienced fighter with a record of 26 wins, three defeats and one draw. Kelly cannot take the 32-year-old lightly, anyone who beats Shane Mosely and goes the distance with Lamont Peterson has to be taken seriously.
Having said that, I have to go for the younger fighter in this one. Kelly has to be careful that he doesn’t tire himself out in the early rounds. He will come out all guns blazing and will unleash a flurry of up-close hooks to unsettle his opponent. If he manages to do that and doesn’t blow up, then I expect him to take this fight by decision or even stoppage late on.
Instead of sitting on the fence, I am backing the Sunderland fighter to get his hand raised after outscoring the Russian on all three judge’s scorecards. In boxing, many people used to believe that if a British fighter was fighting on foreign soil, they needed a knockout to get their hand raised.
Unfortunately, that seems to be the case in England now. Some generous scoring from the judges in recent fights have favoured the Brits – especially in the Zelfa Barrett v Kiko Martinez bout when the Manchester fighter won a unanimous decision when it looked like he had lost the fight. This might concern Avanesyan and his camp may be concerned about that, and they might feel he needs a knockout to win the fight and avoid the lottery of the British judges.
Road To David Avanesyan v Josh Kelly
This fight was originally scheduled to take place in 2018 in Sheffield, but the fight was postponed after Kelly fell ill on the morning of the fight. Obviously both camps were frustrated with that as Avanesyan continually brought it up as a rescheduled fight was set for March 20.
Again, that fight was postponed due to matters out of both fighter’s control. It finally looked like these two would share a ring on January 30, 2021, but all British fights were put on hold in January meaning it went by the wayside one again.
So, at the fourth attempt we will finally get to see ‘Pretty Boy’ Kelly take it to the Russian. Kelly knows that victory over Avanesyan will put him in a strong position to command big fights against the likes of Conor Benn.
Kelly comes into this fight on the back of a unanimous decision victory over Wiston Campos. Kelly was cut early on, but he managed to regain his composure and put in a sterling performance and even knocked Campos to the canvas in the 10th and final round, before getting the decision on all three scorecards.
Avanesyan has scored four consecutive knockout wins, and he will be looking to do the same to Kelly on February 20.
David Avanesyan v Josh Kelly: Fighter’s Predictions
Josh Kelly: “I can box simple and hold my hands up but if I am not getting caught and I am winning fights then that’s how I will box. People think I will change my style when I step up in class, but I have a lot of layers and people are going to see them. This fight has been a long time coming and it’s finally time to silence my doubters. He is the favourite heading into the fight. He has proved how good he is in his last three fights. It’s going to be a good fight but one I’m quietly confident about. I feel like this is a turning point in my career. When I win, then I will take it to the next level. A lot in my future depends on this fight.”
David Avanesyan: “We have both been out of the ring the same time, so I don’t think anyone has the advantage. He’s younger, but I’m very fresh and have a lot more experience. He was a good amateur boxer, very flashy and likes to showboat. But he makes loads of mistakes, which I will exploit. I’m close to my peak but – as you’ve seen from my performances in 2019 – I am still improving all the time. People are saying that if it goes to the judges, I will not get the decision in England, but I have a lot of English friends and my team are English. I’m not concerned but I don’t expect to leave it in the judges’ hands anyway. I hit hard with both hands. Let’s see how he reacts – but I won’t give my game plan away”.