Sunderland boxer/model Josh Kelly has the talent and the looks to be a superstar

Josh Kelly takes on Kazakhstan's Daniyar Yeleussinov
Josh Kelly takes on Kazakhstan's Daniyar Yeleussinov
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Ringwalk or catwalk?

That was the question/quip from Eddie Hearn when British boxing’s top promoter signed Josh Kelly.

Josh’s style is more suited to the pro ranks, this is a fantastic move

PAUL KELLY

And believe it or not, Sunderland’s Olympian can do both, with great style.

The 22-year-old is a top-ranked fighter AND a male model but it looks like the ringwalk will be his chosen path for the next few years.

Kelly has signed for Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and will soon be strutting his stuff in the ring on Sky Sports from April 15 when he makes his debut in Glasgow.

The Houghton ABC boxer has ended a successful association with the amateur game with the highlight being winning a place at the Olympics, Josh reaching the last 16 in Rio before losing out to the eventual gold medallist, Daniyar Yeleussinov.

Kelly’s transfer to the professionals was inevitable and it’s no surprise this country’s leading promoter snapped him up.

And it would be no shock should he go all the way in the sport.

Kelly has everything. Skill, speed and style will win him fights and on the subject of style, his Hollywood looks will make very, very marketable.

And, in Hearn, he has the ideal man to do that, with celebrated trainer, Adam Booth, the man tasked with the responsibility of translating brilliance into wins and titles.

Formerly the coach of David Haye and George Groves, the Boxing Booth gym is the home to some top-notch talent, like world middleweight champ Billy Joe Saunders.

Booth gets the vote from the man who has not only guided Josh through his boxing career but also through life, dad Paul.

“The GB set-up is brilliant, but it doesn’t always suit every boxer,” said the Houghton ABC trainer.

“Josh’s style is more suited to the pro ranks, this is a fantastic move.

“Adam is happy to coach to Josh’s style.

“Some coaches can’t handle the hands-down approach but Adam has embraced Josh and he’s loved the last few weeks.

“It is absolutely paramount to have that faith from your trainer.

“If you try to change a boxer’s natural talent you are taking something away from him and, in Josh’s case, he’d become a dull boy.

“London is probably the place to be,” said dad.

“We have some fabulous talent up here but sometimes I think this far north there can be a tendency to be forgotten.”

There is more to the move than Mssrs Hearn and Booth.

Behind every great man there’s a great woman, as the old saying would have us believe.

And Josh, on the books of Savalas Models, has fiancee Remy Smith in his home corner.

Last year, when he first met the media ahead of the Olympics, with typical honesty, he revealed how he’d spent too much time partying than punching and revealed he became “a right fatty, with a double chin”.

After a spell constantly out on the town, Kelly was soon back on track and he did clinch a place on Team GB in Rio.

Dad says having a good lady in his corner is as vital to his son as a coach and manager.

“This is the happiest I’ve seen him in his boxing career,” said Paul.

“He has a fantastic trainer and is part of an incredible set-up but one of the biggest things is that he is settled there, living with his fiancee.

“All those headlines before the Olympics about his weight and lifestyle, I thought were a bit exaggerated and a bit unfair.

“But I think he’s now more mature and grounded.

“He’s never really been a drinker but since getting engaged he’s not out as much with his pals.

“Having a solid, settled homebase is so important to his career, I know his mind will be totally on his job.”

That job is fighting and it’s already under way – the catwalk will have to wait.