Billy Hardy backs Josh Kelly to win world title and says Sunderland should be proud despite David Avanesyan loss

Billy Hardy has backed Josh Kelly to become a world champion one day despite defeat to David Avanesyan.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 5:24 pm
25 Apr 1997: Billy Hardy of England on the heavy bag during a training session at a gym in Sheffield, England.

Kelly was stopped in the sixth round of the European welterweight title fight with Avanesyan eight days ago live on Sky Sports.

The Ryhope-born puncher was cut on the back and front of the head before being knocked down twice in the sixth round.

That prompted Kelly’s trainer Adam Booth to throw in the towel despite the 26-year-old’s decent start to the fight.

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But Castletown-born former British, Commonwealth and European champion Hardy believes his fellow Mackem should be proud and will come again.

“It was always going to be a big ask and a big task when you looked at Ava’s record," Hardy, who once challenged ‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed for the featherweight world title, exclusively told the Echo.

“If you look at his last three fights, he knocked two out early doors, he’s a banger and Josh had only had 11 pro fights.

“Josh had all the skills and all the tools to win but it just wasn’t his night.

"I know the artery went on the back of his head and he got cut early on in the fight which obviously is a big factor in the fight.

“It was a big ask for him. He’s done himself proud, he’s done his family proud and he has done Sunderland proud.

“He will come back from it and learn from it and one day he will be world champion.”

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