Simon Cowell? Boxer Josh Kelly has the X Factor to beat him

Josh "Pretty Boy" Kelly
Josh "Pretty Boy" Kelly
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Josh Kelly can’t wait to box in front of another big-city crowd – and trend ahead of Simon Cowell – as he prepares to fight Spain’s Jony Vina in Birmingham.

The 23-year-old made his debut last month in Glasgow on the undercard of the Ricky Burns world unification fight, beating Dublin’s Jay Byrne at the SSE Hydro Arena.

That sort of stuff gives you the incentive to put in the performances to ensure people continue to talk about me

JOSH KELLY

And tomorrow night he’s at the Barclaycard Arena where he is one of the chief support acts to Kal Yafai’s WBA world super-flyweight title defence against Suguru Muranaka.

The Sunderland boxer impressed last time out and wants to win over more fans by beating his Spanish opponent.

“I was trending on Twitter after my first fight, above people like Simon Cowell,” laughed the 2016 Olympian, who has been dubbed “Pretty Boy” by promoter Eddie Hearn.

“It’s mad! But that sort of stuff gives you the incentive to put in the performances to ensure people are continuing to talk about me.

“If you don’t have the support, things will be harder moving forward. I want to get out as much as I can and keep busy. This time I’m looking forward to fighting in front of the Birmingham crowd.

“The more fights I have all over the place, the more fans I’ll build across the country and the more rounds I’ll get in the bank which obviously will move me towards my overall goal.”

Kelly, from Ryhope but now based in Surrey, is a young man in a hurry, hoping to move towards title level in 2018-19.

“After the fight, I’d like to box another three times in 2017,” he explained. “That would set me up for the new year, then I’d like another three early next year meaning I’d have eight fights in my first year.

“The platform will be laid then and I can kick on and start looking at titles.”