Sunderland’s Josh Kelly targets Glasgow bliss in pro debut

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Josh Kelly believes he can “do a number” on Jay Byrne when he makes his professional debut tomorrow night.

The gifted Sunderland boxer takes to the ring at Glasgow’s magnificent SSE Hydro Arena for the first time since ending his time with Team GB.

Byrne, at 30, has age and experience on his side, plus a lot of guts and determination.

He also has a winning record and that means Kelly’s bow on the big Sky Sports stage is no gimme.

The Irishman refused to wilt under the pressure of one of Matchroom’s prospects, Felix Cash, when he fought in London last month.

He made a fair start against the Londoner but lacked the venom against an opponent he stepped up a weight to tackle in front of the TV cameras.

“I wasn’t there, but I watched his fight with Felix Cash and he did well and went the full six rounds,” said Kelly.

“I am a division or two lighter than Felix so I am going to be sharper and faster than him.

“Jay had a bit of a go that night but if he opens up against me that could play right into my hands and I could end up doing a number on him.

“I want to look good.”

Looking good is something that comes naturally to Kelly, not solely down to his handsome features and honed physique.

He can box with style, as he proved when reaching the top level as an amateur.

Should the Wearside Olympian do that “number” it would represent a great start, though trainer Adam Booth will probably remind him he has six rounds to negotiate rather than the three he is accustomed to in amateur boxing.

Booth and Kelly have been working together for a comparatively short time in the coach’s London HQ.

The alliance has started well as Kelly, who has spent 90% of his career coached by dad, Paul, at Houghton ABC, explained.

“It has gone great,” said the 23-year-old, who has been pleased that Booth has not trained to change his approach.

“I’m learning different things all the time, Adam has added to my natural style.

“Everything has been flying, my training, my sparring, my fitness has gone up and my weight’s spot on.”