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Josh Kelly vs. David Avanesyan in October or November

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By Charles Brun: Josh Kelly and David Avanesyan will be fighting in October or November, according to promoter Eddie Hearn. He’s ready to get this welterweight clash on finally after a year of waiting.

The 2016 Olympian Kelly was supposed to have fought Avanesyan a year ago, but he didn’t take the fight.

Now a year later, Hearn is still hoping to get the Kelly vs. Avanesyan fight done. If #13 WBC Kelly (10-0, 6 KOs) isn’t able to go through with it, the Russian fighter Avanesyan (26-3-1, 14 KOs) needs to move on. He can’t afford to invest any more precious time with his career trying to get Josh to face him finally.

Avanesyan = a big step up for Kelly

Kelly is ranked #6 IBF, #7 WBC, #8 WBA and #10 WBO at 147, and he has wins over these fighters:

  • Former 154-pound world champion, Carlos Molina
  • Walter Fabian Castillo
  • Winston Campos
  • Przemyslaw Runowski
  • Kris George

Understandably, Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn has been slow in stepping Kelly up against world-level opposition because he’s been getting hit a lot in his fights.

Although Kell has excellent upper body movement that enables him to avoid a lot of punches, his unfortunate habit of fighting with his hands down by his sides has resulted in him getting nailed a lot of shots.

None of Kelly’s fights have been easy for him due to his lack of defense. Last year, Hearn stepped Kelly up against fringe contender Ray Robinson on the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr 1 card on June 1, and the fight was scored as a 10-round draw. Most boxing fans had Robinson winning easily.

No rematch for Ray Robinson

Boxing News 24 had Ray winning eight rounds to two against Kelly, but it’s not altogether surprising why the fight was scored as a draw. Kelly was the A-side going into the match, whereas Robinson, the non-Matchroom fighter, was brought in as the opponent.

Rather than Hearn matching Kelly back up with Robinson so that he could clear up the controversy surrounding the oddball scoring for their June 1 fight, they chose to match him against little known Wiston Campos (31-7-6, 19 KOs) last December.

Kelly easily beat Campos by a 10 round decision. The fact that Robinson wasn’t given a rematch is arguably a victory for him, as it’s a sign that Hearn doesn’t believe that Kelly can beat him. If Kelly can’t beat a fringe contender like Robinson, then what kind of future is in store for him at 147?

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Kelly isn’t improving at all, and his punching power is inadequate for the welterweight division. As such, Kelly may need to think about moving down to 140, where his lack of power won’t be as much of a problem as it is for him at 147. Assuming Kelly can’t make 140, it suggests that his career won’t go anywhere beyond the European level.

Huge improvements for David

Avaneysan has shown tons of growth in the power department since his sixth-round knockout against ‘The Mean Machine’ Egidijus Kavaliauskas in 2018. He’s worked on his power since then, and it’s paid off with Avaneysan knocking out these fighters:

  • Kerman Lejarraga x 2
  • Jose del Rio

The body punching is the area that Avaneysan has improved on the most since two years ago. He’s made himself into one of the most devastating body punchers in the 147lb division almost overnight, and he’s been mowing his opposition lately one after another.

For Kelly, this is the wrong type of opponent for him to be facing in Avaneysan. Kelly’s whole game is centered around him using upper body movements designed to avoid getting hit to the head. It works somewhat well for Kelly to avoid shots upstairs, but it doesn’t help him when his opponents after his body.

Unless Kelly can use his feet to stay on the outside all night against Avaneysan, he’s likely to get stopped with a vicious body shot.


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