Hearn to promote David Avanesyan vs. Josh Kelly
By Tim Royner: Unbeaten 2016 Olympian Josh Kelly will be challenging EBU welterweight champion David Avanesyan for his title at a still to be determined date and venue. There’s a purse set for today. Once the winner of the bid is revealed, then more will be learned about when and where the match could take place.
Avanesyan (25-3-1, 13 KOs) is a risky fight for the still very green Kelly (9-0-1, 6 KOs), who is coming off of a controversial 10 round draw against fringe contender Ray Robinson on June 1 on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. card at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Kelly, 25, spent much of the fight pinned to the ropes, trying to dodge all the incoming fire from the 33-year-old Robinson. It was a bad performance by Kelly, who was given favorable scoring in a fight that arguably won only one clear round. Kelly was fortunate to get a draw, because it could have been much worse.
Avanesyan a big step up for Kelly
The more experienced Russian Avanesyan, 31, is looking hard to beat right now. In his last fight, he defeated Kerman Lejarraga by a 1st round knockout in their rematch on September 28. Avanesyan has previously stopped the hard-hitting Lejarraga in the 9th round in Bilbao, Spain. Avanesyan beat Lejarraga in front of his own boxing fans in both cases, and made it look easy.
For Hearn to let Kelly take on Avanesyan at this early stage in his career, he’s got to believe that he can do the job. This could end badly for Kelly if he doesn’t improve his game from what we’ve seen from him in his last two fights. He fought poorly against Robinson and Przemyslaw Runowski (17-1, 3 KOs).
Those should have been easy fights for Kelly if his technical boxing skills were on point, but they weren’t. His defense is leaky, and his punching power isn’t sufficient for him to brawl with even his light-hitting opponents. Runowski isn’t a puncher, and yet he was working Kelly over with shots to the head.
Does Josh Kelly need new trainer?
Hearn hasn’t said anything about Kelly needing to revamp his fighting style from the ground up, but it’s obvious that’s what he needs to do. His amateur fighting style isn’t working well for him at the professional level. Kelly still likes to fight with his hands down, but he’s not able to get away with it like he used to in the amateurs. Even with Kelly fighting lower level opposition, he’s getting tagged repeatedly with head shots.
Kelly is currently trained by Adam Booth, and he doesn’t look like he’s improving under his guidance. What Kelly needs is a good trainer like Eddy Reynoso, who can get him to change out all the bad habits he’s developed. For starters, Kelly needs to hold his hands up to protect his head, because he doesn’t have the reflexes needed to fight with his hands down by his sides.