Carlos Molina says he had no idea who Josh Kelly was ahead of Sunderland man’s big title fight

Josh Kelly (left) in action against Jony Vinaat during their Welterweight bout.
Josh Kelly (left) in action against Jony Vinaat during their Welterweight bout.
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Carlos Molina says he had no idea who Josh Kelly was when their title fight was made – and that he had to look him up on the internet.

Molina stands in the way of Sunderland fighter Kelly’s first professional belt as the two men go head to head on Saturday for the vacant WBA International Welterweight title.

Kelly’s rise has been rapid, having fought just five times since joining the paid ranks following his successful amateur career which peaked with an appearance at the 2016 Olympic Games.

And experienced Mexican Molina admits he has had to research the 24-year-old to see what he is up against.

“I had to go to Youtube and watch his fights,” Molina said.

“I’m not one to turn down fights, and knew quickly I wanted the fight – AND the opportunity that comes with it.

“I watched his five pro fights, and he has some impressive looking skills, but nothing I haven’t dealt with before.”

Molina has fought 38 times, and held the IBF Light Middleweight belt five years ago, but knows he will be the underdog against Kelly.

The two men act as the warm-up to Anthony Joshua’s massive world heavyweight battle with Joseph Parker at Cardiff on Saturday night.

The underdog role is one that Molina is happy in, though.

“I think anyone I’ve ever fought has underestimated me,” he said.

“Eddie Hearn picked me to fight his top prospect after only five fights. I think that is a understatement of the knowledge and sheer ruggedness I bring to the ring.

“My style isn’t what most people think it is.

“I’m tricky and I box, I have defence that my first trainer Lou Askanette instilled in me from day one that has been a huge part of my success in boxing, and it’s a tool I use in every fight.

“People usually appreciate my fighting style more after they see me fight a second or third time.

“It sounds strange, but it’s hard to see what I’m doing in there with all the subtle things that I make happen.”

The clash with Kelly is a scheduled 10-round event and despite the Sunderland man’s skills that have convinced promotor Eddie Hearn and coach Adam Booth that he is a future world champion, Molina isn’t afraid.

Having gone toe to toe with the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez and defeated former two-time world champion Cory Spinks, he is confident he can cope with ‘flashy’ Kelly despite having lost his last two fights.

“I think my skills aren’t as flashy as Josh Kelly’s, but just as effective,” said Molina.

“I have beat the boxer, the puncher, the prospect, the champion, and I have retired fighters and ended careers.

“I’m still that beast and Josh Kelly isn’t any different.

“I’m going to his hometown like Highlander and take all his power after I beat him.

“There can only be one.”