Sunderland's Commonwealth champion Josh Kelly admits he's 'ready for anyone' - could face former world champion in November return

Commonwealth welterweight champions Josh Kelly says he's ready to face anyone ahead of his November ring return.

Monday, 17th September 2018, 2:25 pm
Updated Monday, 17th September 2018, 2:32 pm
Josh Kelly.

And the Ryhope fighter admits he'd be happy to be thrown in with seasoned elite level boxer Brandon Rios, if coach Adam Booth thinks that's the next best step in his career.

Rios was pencilled in to fight Birmingham's Sam Eggington, a former Glenn Foot foe, on the undercard of this weekend's massive Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin fight at Wembley.

But that all fell through when Eggington unexpectedly lost to Hassan Mwakinyo earlier this month, a fight which was scheduled as a tune up for the Eddie Hearn promoted fighter.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Would Kelly be worried about being thrown in with Rios, who has held the WBA lightweight title and very recently fought Danny Garcia?

"I feel ready for anyone," said Kelly talking to Sky Sports.

"I've had a bit of time off and have been ticking over but now I'm ready to jump back in.

"I've heard that I'm next out in November. I leave it all to my team though and keep my head down until I get news of a date and opponent. I'm not one to mouth off fighters.

"If Adam [Booth] thinks Rios is the right fight next then we do it, I'd be happy with it. I'm not scared of anyone and this is boxing at the end of the day, I'm in the sport to be the best. Rios can come and get it.

"I'm the Commonwealth champion after seven fights and beat Molina for the WBA International title before that, I never thought it would all happen so quickly but we are reaching new expectations.

Kelly was lined up to fight on the Hearn spectacular on the banks of the Tyne in October, but will not take part in the show headed by Lewis Ritson with his partner due to give birth around the same time.

Last time out he easily beat Australian Kris George in Newcastle to claim the Commonwealth title to add to his WBA international strap, won earlier this year against Carlos Molina.

His next fight could well be a little further from home.

"I do love boxing in England with the crowd and all your friends and family there but heading to America would be a dream come true," he said.

"It just feels different in the USA, I remember when I was younger watching Mike Tyson fights, it's a country steeped in boxing history. My dad, who only fought at amateur, always said that his dream place to box was the Royal Albert Hall in London and that never happened for him.

"I've set my heights a little higher and if I could box at Madison Square Garden or at one of my home stadiums then that would be massive. If I was pushed then Madison Square Garden is the one I want ticked off."

Facing Rios in the US would be a big step up in levels for Kelly, but that kind of jump is nothing new for the former GB boxer, who went to the Rio Olympics back in 2016.

"We've been saying after fights that I do lose concentration here and there and I know it can be a bit frustrating for the people watching," he said.

"I don't like to be disrespectful but I can get a bit bored in a fight, I solve the puzzle quickly and then it's cruise control from there.

"I want to get to a point where I can't afford to switch off, that's when the best version of me comes out and it'll happen once I step up.

"Rios is a fighter that'll force it out of me, he's been there, done it and will keep me switched on. I know he'll make me go through the levels and gears. It's what I want and need."