Josh Kelly signs with Wasserman, can they turn him into a star?
By William Lloyd: Welterweight Josh Kelly has signed a promotional deal with Wasserman Boxing in hopes of moving his career along.
The 27-year-old Kelly (10-1-1, 6 KOs) felt that inking with Wasserman was a good move because his fights will be shown on the massive Sky Sports platform, which will give him a lot of visibility.
Kelly is coming off a disappointing sixth round stoppage defeat against the older, more experienced David Avanesyan last February at the Wembley Arena.
Why was Kelly matched against Avanesyan?
It’s unclear who’s idea was to throw the 2016 Olympian Kelly in with Avaneysan because he didn’t have the seasoning yet to be in with a killer puncher like him.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn isn’t putting Conor Benn in with Avaneysan, and it makes you wonder why Kelly was allowed to fight the tough Russian knockout artist? Did Hearn not know how dangerous Avaneysan was at the time Kelly fought him?
Whatever the case, Hearn isn’t putting Conor Benn in with Avanesyan, and that tells you something.
Kelly’s promoters at Wasserman Boxing will likely match him carefully, putting him in with guys that don’t have huge power. What’s important is that Kelly works on cardio because he gassed out against Avanesyan and Ray Robinson.
Those were clearly Kelly’s worst career performances to date, and he really shouldn’t have been in with either of those guys. Robinson has the kind of talent that would give even world champions problems.
“I signed with them for personal reasons. They’re a big company, and I can’t wait to start performing,” said Josh Kelly to iFL TV.
“I want the big fights and the big pay, and this is what they can offer. Going with Wasserman and being on Sky will be big. Sky is a household channel. It’s a good platform to be on.
“David [Avanesyan] beat me on the night fair and square, but a lot of personal things were going on and it sort of spilled over after the fight,” said Kelly. “I’m back in the gym and getting ready for December.
Avanesyan is the type of fighter that you don’t want to want to face if you’ve got personal stuff weighing down on you, as Kelly had. It would have been smart for Kelly not to have taken the fight.
When Kelly did suffer the cut, he should have had his trainer pull him out because there was too much blood, and we couldn’t win with that type of injury.
Josh Kelly NOT retiring
“I never considered retirement,” said Kelly. “I only just turned 27, and I don’t think I’m in any position to retire. And I love boxing, and I’m talented enough to know I can get to where I get to become a world champion.
“I can’t wait to put some performances on, and I can’t wait to get back in front of a crowd. I know I have the talent to go places.
“I felt like I was winning the fight, and then I got a massive cut. I think I learned a lot from that fight, and I want to thank David’s team because it was a good fight to be involved in.
“I’m positive for the future. I don’t see anyone else trying to shout out to David. He’s tough, and he can punch a little bit.
“He’s going to give everyone a solid night’s work, even at the top. You got to bring your A-game if you’re going to fight him. I took a loss and learned from it,” said Kelly.
It would be silly for Kelly to retire after one career defeat because he still has a bright future, as long as he’s matched sensibly. As I mentioned, Kelly needs to improve his cardio and focus more on his defense.
Above all, Kelly must stay off the ropes and fight in the center of the ring. If possible, Kelly should move down to 140 because he doesn’t pack enough power to fight against the high-caliber 147-pounders.
He literally couldn’t keep Avanesyan off of him last February, and there are other killers in the welterweight division that would be just as tough for Kelly.
Kelly took fights other welterweights wouldn’t
“I took risky fights that other welterweights wouldn’t have taken so far,” Kelly said about his fights with Avanesyan and Ray Robinson.
“I’m thankful that I’m in the position to get this opportunity to go again and make a proper statement this time. Do it properly and do it correctly.
“A few years back, Khan would have been a tough fight for anybody. Now, I don’t know. I’m not sure,” said Kelly when asked about his thoughts on Conor Benn potentially fighting Amir Khan.
“Eddie [Hearn] offered me five fights, and Wasserman offered me five fights. It just suited me personally better. I went here with Kalle [Sauerland],” said Kelly.
You don’t see welterweight prospects being matched against a dangerous fighter like Ray Robinson in their 10th professional fight like Kelly.
After that fight, Kelly’s promoter should have backed him off from fighting high B+ level fighters, but that didn’t happen. Instead, Kelly was matched against an even better fighter in Avanesyan, and the outcome was predictable.
Would Hearn take the same chance with Benn by having him run the same gauntlet that Kelly did by facing Ray Robinson and then David Avanesyan. Probably not.
Benn is a money maker, so he’ll likely continue to be matched against weak opponents like we’ve been seeing.
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