Josh Kelly suffers suspected broken hand but claims unanimous points win - dedicates victory to Sunderland stab victim

Josh Kelly defended his WBA International title with a unanimous points victory previously unbeaten Pole Przemyslaw Runowski - dedicating the victory in front of a packed O2 Arena to Sunderland stab victim Connor Brown.

By Liam Kennedy
Saturday, 20 April, 2019, 22:10
Josh Kelly v PRZEMYSLAW RUNOWSKI, WBA International Welterweight contest, O2 Arena, London. 20th April 2019 Picture By Ian Walton

In February, 18-year-old Brown was found in a back lane next to The Borough pub in Sunderland city centre with life-threatening injuries, which Northumbria Police said were consistent with a stabbing. He was taken to hospital but sadly died.

And Kelly, speaking to Sky Sports, wanted to use his victory speech to bring knife crime on to the agenda.

"That fight was in honour of Conor Brown, a boxer, who lost his life when he was stabbed in Sunderland, "said Kelly.

"We need to up recognition on knife crime."

Kelly had Runowski down three times in the contest - the first in the second, then again in round nine and the last.

With the 100-88 (x2), 100-89 points win, he moved to 9-0.

But his next outing at Madisaon Square Garden on June could be in doubt, with a suspected broken hand.

"It was a good return after five months out," said Kelly.

"He was a decent, strong opponent.

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"I hurt my right hand half way through and I couldn't toss it as the fight went on. I couldn't get any leverage.

"I am happy but there are things to improve on. I got caught with some sloppy shots.

"The enemy of ability is complacency. Sometimes when I get the job done I go to sleep - I have had that since the start of my career. I need to brush up on it and I think I will.

"During the mid-rounds I went up a level."

And when asked whether he will move up in weight after some accusations of struggling at welterweight, he said: " do welterweight nice. That's all that needs to be said on that."

Trainer Adam Booth was delighted with Kelly's show in Greenwich.

"When you go up the levels, even when you get guys hurt, if you go looking for six, seven, eight, nine shot combinations, you should expect to get hit back," he said.

"He has so much ability, it is just about making smart choices against a tough opponents.

"I was really pleased with his performance, he showed a lot of different skills."