David Avanesyan vs. Josh Kelly – 10 days to go

By Barry Holbrook: David Avanesyan vs. Josh Kelly is 10 days away before the two meet up on February 20th in their clash on DAZN at the Wembley Arena, in Wembley, UK.

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn posted a photo on Wednesday of a shredded Kelly (10-0-1, 6 KOs), who looks like he’s ready to weigh-in right now 10 days ahead of the fight.

The 2016 Olympian Kelly realizes what he’s up against in taking on Avaneysan, 32, as the Russian fighter has been knocking out everyone lately.

Josh Kelly has struggled in the last three fights

Kelly’s last three performances have been less than inspiring, and it’s unclear if he’s got what it takes to even be competitive with Avanesyan.

There are small things that Kelly can do to improve his chances of success against Avanesyan.

For example, staying off the ropes and keeping his guard up will greatly help Kelly, but he’s going to need more than that to beat Avanesyan.

Kelly’s last three fights:

  • Wiston Campos
  • Ray Robinson
  • Przemyslaw Runowski

Avanesyan is fighting like a machine right now, and if Kelly hasn’t improved his game from his last two fights, he’s going to wind up on the canvas counting stars.

As expected, EBU welterweight champion Avanesyan (26-3-1, 14 KOs) is the favorite in the February 20th contest against Kelly.

“Do we make Brook vs. Liam Smith, or do we make Josh Kelly vs. Conor Benn or one of those guys or Amir Khan vs. Kell Brook?” said Hearn to iFL TV. “I know Kelly has a really tough fight against Avanesyan.

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“Conor has a tough fight against [Samuel] Vargas [on April 10th, but I do really love Conor against Josh Kelly. I do think that’s a great fight.

“I also like Conor against Amir Khan. For the money,” said Hearn when asked why Khan would fight Benn. “Do that old guard want to fight a young pup where they can’t really gain anything?

“I’d like to make Josh Kelly against Kell Brook, but Kell would go, ‘Why do I want to fight him?’ But ultimately, the fight becomes really big, and you might change your mind.

“I’m just playing things out in my head. I spoke to Conor yesterday, and he’s game for all of those fights. This will be the biggest year for boxing yet, I promise you.

“This will be the best and biggest year that boxing has ever had in this country [UK]. Because I know the schedule already,” said Hearn.

Image: David Avanesyan vs. Josh Kelly - 10 days to go

Putting Josh Kelly in with Conor Benn right now would be a bad idea, especially given how he looked against Ray Robinson. Benn has too much power for Kelly, and I think that would end badly for Josh.

If Kelly loses this fight badly to Avanesyan, he and Hearn will need to sit down and decide which direction to take with his career.

Kelly is not showing improvement in his fights, and it’s doubtful whether he’ll be able to able to handle taking on better opposition.

Avanesyan is a test for Kelly, and if he fails it, Hearn may need to suggest having him go down to 140 or 135, if possible. An obvious move would be for Kelly to dump trainer Adam Booth and look to get with Eddy Reynoso if he would be willing to work with him.

Kelly would need to shake things up entirely, which means dumping Booth and going with a different trainer. Defensively, Kelly is exceptionally talented, but he cannot afford to continue to fight off the ropes or with his hands down.

One reason why Kelly is always fighting off the ropes is he lacks the power to stand and fight his opposition in the center of the ring.

Image: David Avanesyan vs. Josh Kelly - 10 days to go

Other fights on the Avanesyan vs. Kelly card on February 20th:

  • Robbie Davies Jr vs. Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela
  • Amy Timlin vs. Carly Skelly
  • Florian Marku vs. Rylan Charlton
  • Johnny Fisher vs. Matt Gordon