Josh Kelly: 'I am so confident ahead of my Sunderland return' - exclusive column

Josh Kelly updates fans in his exclusive Echo column ahead of his December 16 fight.
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In case you haven’t seen the news this week, let me bring you all up to speed. 

For my homecoming fight on Saturday, December 16 at the Beacon of Light, I was lined up to fight the dangerous South African Roarke Knapp.

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Unfortunately, Knapp is injured and so, earlier this week, it was confirmed that, instead, I will be taking on the big-punching Colombian Placido Ramirez. 

On the surface and for those on the outside, a late change opponent, for a fight as big as this, would look like something that would unsettle my preparations and throw everything up in the air. 

But I can honestly say, it hasn’t.  This is boxing, these changes happen, and I am so confident ahead of my Sunderland return, that it could be anyone across from me in the ring next weekend.  Anyone.  It wouldn’t matter. 

At this stage of my career, as I enter my prime, I am ready for all-comers and with the added support of the Sunderland fans, they could serve up any fighter in the division, and I would be certain of beating him. 

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I’ve done a little bit of homework on Ramirez and watched some of his fights.  What’s clear is that he is heavy-handed.  Make no mistake.  But what is also clear, is that there are levels to boxing and this guy is nowhere near my level. 

I plan on reinforcing that next Saturday with a performance that will send a statement out to any super welterweight fighter on the plane because 2024 is going to be my year. 

My preparations and training for this fight have gone amazingly well.  Usually, you have a niggling injury to contend with or worse still, like before my last fight, I sustained a cut across my nose in a freakish training accident, which meant we had to move the date. 

But not this time, because touch wood, everything has gone smoothly in the gym. 

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After the last fight against Gabriel Corzo, I hardly took my foot off the gas and, as I write this column just over a week out, I can tell you that I have been punching harder than I ever have, in my sparring sessions, on the bag and the pads. 

My coach, Adam Booth, and I have spent the majority of this camp in our new set up in Champneys, Forest Mere. There, we have put in some brilliant, focused and quality work, with no distractions and I know it is going to pay off on December 16. 

Thanks to everyone who has bought a ticket so far, your support is greatly appreciated as always. 

Anyone still looking to get a ticket, visit and for those wanting to watch the fight at home, you can see me in action, live on DAZN. 

Take care, Josh 

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