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Eddie Hearn say Kelly’s blood loss was a factor in loss to Avanesyan

Eddie Hearn

By Barry Holbrook: Eddie Hearn says the blood loss from Josh Kelly’s two cuts and the weight that he’d put on during training camp were factors in why he was stopped in the sixth round by EBU welterweight champion David Avanesyan last Saturday night.

If Hearn’s blood loss theory is true, it will help explain why Kelly steadily lost strength following the opening of a cut on the back of his head in the second. Kelly looked like a human battery, losing power quickly beginning in the third.

Kelly (10-1-1, 6 KOs) fought well in the first two rounds against Avanesyan 27-3-1, 15 KOs), but then he ran out of gas almost immediately and was worn down by the Russian for their fight at the SSE Arena in London, UK.

The end came in the sixth with Kelly’s trainer Adam Booth throwing in the towel after he’d been dropped twice by the 31-year-old Avanesyan.

While some boxing fans argue that Booth was a little premature in throwing in the towel, but Kelly’s legs were gone after he’d been hurt by a series of thudding power shots from Avanesyan in the sixth.

Booth throwing in the towel may have saved Kelly from being knocked out in the same fashion that Miguel Berchelt was last Saturday night by Oscar Valdez in their clash in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hearn explains why Kelly lost

“I talked to Kelly, and he said that he felt weak after the fifth round,” said Hearn to iFL TV. “He’d lost so much blood on the back of his head. Was that an issue? Yeah, I think it was. Was the weight an issue?

Eddie Hearn

“Yeah, maybe. Was the toughest of David Avaneysan an issue? We also need to give massive credit to David Avanesyan; he looked like a man on a mission last night. I thought he looked like a guy that wasn’t going to be denied.

“He [Avanesyan] was roughing him up and making sure that when he got him on that backstretch that he was war-torn. Was it a little bit of professional experience, or was it he [Kelly] wasn’t good enough on the night?

“Josh started out really well, and the fight started out just like a lot of people expected it to in that Josh Kelly would start off fast and sharp, and David Avanesyn would come on strong,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing post-fight show.

“It unraveled really quickly, didn’t it? I mean, Avanesyan was banking those body shots early in the fight.

“Kelly, a horrendous cut to the back of the head, and cut to the eyebrow, bruised under the eye. He [Avanesyan] was just too strong. [Trainer] Adam Booth knows his fighter,” said Hearn.

Avaneysan wasn’t roughing Kelly up in a traditional sense. He was just hitting him whenever he could, which wasn’t easy for him because of his movement.

The reason for Kelly being marked up and cut was more of a product of him having a tendency to mark up easily and the power of Avanesyan’s shots.

Kelly’s weight gain was a mistake

“Josh Kelly would have gotten up again, but he might have gotten knocked out badly, and he wasn’t going to recover to win the fight,” said Hearn about trainer Adam Booth throwing in the towel in the sixth.

Eddie Hearn

“So I think you’ve got to look at Josh Kelly and ask what are the reasons why it unraveled so quickly? Conor Benn was just talking about Josh Kelly’s weight.

“We know he’s got huge legs, and we know he put on. He did [rehydrate a lot of weight]. Is that necessarily a great thing? We know nowadays that you get a championship medal if you can put on 20 pounds or 25 pounds after the weigh-in fight night.

“Does that actually make you sharp enough? Does that let your legs recover? I don’t know. I’m not a sports scientist or whatever. What I do know is Avanesyan wasn’t heavy, and he went like a train nonstop, and he was a man that wasn’t going to be denied.

“You can imagine where he [Avanesyan comes from [Russia]. It’s not easy. These guys are made of seriously tough stuff, and he was willing to let his hands go when Kelly was, wasn’t he?

“People talk about banking those body shots and marking up a fighter so that when they get to five and six, they start to unravel.

“If you don’t do that and they cruise through those first five or six rounds, then it’s going to be easier for them in the second half of the fight.

“What we saw from Avanesyan was the body shots, the work up close that caused the damage that it did all helped it unravel quicker than we would have expected,” said Hearn.

Conor Benn is perhaps right about Kelly making a mistake by putting too much weight on during training camp.

Benn: Kelly tires too quickly

“You know, I called it because I thought Kelly was too big on the weight,” said Conor Benn. “Kelly has all the skill in the world for the first four or five rounds.

“He is so naturally gifted; his reflexes are second to none. But for some reason, he seems to tire between rounds four and six, and then it becomes a gut check.

“Tonight, he failed on that, but I believe he’ll come back because champions always come back, and I believe Kelly can become a champion.

“I wouldn’t give him the first two rounds. I would give him no rounds,” Benn said when asked if he’d let Kelly get off to an early lead against him in the way he did tonight against Avanesyan.

“I’ll go in there and let him know he’s in a fight from the first bell. Avanesyan did a great job of hunting him down, staying compact, staying compact, even while Kelly was letting off good shots.

“But you know Kelly is going to tire, so I thought Kelly would nick the first six or seven rounds, then potentially be sink or swim in the later rounds.

“If it were me and Kelly, I wouldn’t give him the first rounds; I wouldn’t give him no rounds. I’d go in there, sit on his chest and change the variety of speeds, be explosive, drag him into a fight, and then have a little box.

“But listen, that’s enough of talking about me and Kelly fighting. He just suffered a loss to Avanesyan, and I bet he’s really feeling this,” said Benn.

As Conor points out, Kelly has shown a tendency to fade quickly after four rounds in some of his fights. We saw that happen to him against Avanesyan.

Whether that was from blood loss or conditioning for Kelly is unknown. The conditioning issues are something that’s been showing up since Josh started facing better opposition.

Conor Benn future option for Avanesyan

“For sure, but first Conor [Benn] has a really tough fight against Samuel Vargas on April the 10th,” said Hearn when asked if Benn would be interested in fighting Avanesyan after his match against Kelly went out the window with his loss tonight.

“It is a gutter because that’s a big domestic fight, Avanesyan and Josh Kelly. I think now I’d like to take Avanesyan on now for a shot at a world title.

“I think he deserves it. Conor will be looking and saying, ‘I want him once I get through Vargas.’

“You’ve just seen the huge audience tonight. Avanesyan gained a lot of fans. So Benn against Avanesyan is a very, very big fight, but it’s a tough fight. I was just saying to Conor there, ‘He was too tough tonight, Avanesyan,'” said Hearn.

“Definitely, I fear no man,” Benn said when asked if he’d be interested in fighting Avanesyan down the road.

They did make Avanesyan out to be a monster, and tonight he proved that he is the monster that everyone kept making him out to be.

“So I’m still learning, I’m still grafting, and so if the public wants it, the public will get it,” Benn said about a potential fight between him and Avanesyan down the road.

It might be a good idea for Benn to gain more experience before he steps inside the ring to faces Avanesyan. Hearn just had one of his fighters exposed by Avanesyan.

I don’t think he wants to see Benn exposed as well by the Russian fighter, as that would ruin things for a potential in-house Matchroom Boxing fight.




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