Adam Booth not about to put the brakes on Josh Kelly's fast start to life in the pro game

Adam Booth believes Josh Kelly isn't even out of first gear - as the trainer looks to accelerate the Sunderland fighter's career.

Wednesday, 20th June 2018, 10:00 am
Josh Kelly celebrates his win against Kris George. Picture by Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom.

In an era of padded records and carefully selected opponents, Kelly’s course is a refreshing one.

Very few boxers can say they have picked up TWO professional titles when they’re just seven fights out of the amateur game.

But that is exactly what Ryhope lad Kelly has done, beating seasoned pro Carlos Molina for the WBA International strap on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s world title clash against Joseph Parker and then following that by ripping the Commonwealth crown from the grasp of tough Australian Kris George on home turf.

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Many experts and pundits are tipping the 24-year-old for big things because of his meteoric rise.

And Booth is not about to slow his fighter down.

He thinks the challenges that lie ahead, across the pond and at British and European title level, will only see Kelly, a self-described introvert despite his ‘Pretty Boy’ moniker, come yet further out of his boxing shell.

“Things are probably going to speed up,” said Booth when asked whether the level of opposition facing Kelly would level out for a while.

“He is getting challenged much more in the gym now than he is in the ring.

“I have always been a believer that the enemy of ability is complacency.

“And because he has so much ability the risk is of complacency is so much more.

“It is my job and Eddie’s [Hearn] job to make sure we pitch the right level of stress in front of him. The more people raise their level, the more Josh goes.

“It was clear from Saturday night that the Commonwealth title was not enough to stimulate him.”

One thing that can’t be doubted is that Booth knows a fighter when he sees one.

He helped mastermind David Haye’s rise to undisputed cruiserweight king and then on to the heavyweight scene, worked with current super middle world titleist George Groves as well as being in the corner for the likes of Andy Lee, Ryan Burnett and Danny Williams.

But, despite a stellar list of former boxers, Booth is in no doubt he is working with something extra special in Kelly.

“Seven pro fights? It’s incredible. I have never worked with a fighter who can go at this pace,” he said.

“I have said it before and I will say it again - he is by far the most talented fighter I have ever worked with.

“He is head and shoulders above anyone else and in time that will show.”

Kelly was far from happy with his performance at the Metro Radio Arena on Saturday, despite his success.

His own harshest critic, he picked out one of two shots George caught him with, overlooking the fact he absolutely boxed the Australian’s ears off for the previous seven rounds.

But that kind of attitude is just what Booth wants to see.

He said: “I am pleased with his assessment of the fight. He is an intelligent fighter. There is so much more that he can do.

“After the second or third round he came back to the corner and said ‘he’s got nothing on those shots’.

“When I heard that the alarm bells were going in my head. So I kept making him stand up early, just to change it up and keep him interested.

“He was starting to fall asleep very early.”