Records and reputations count for nothing as Josh Kelly eyes world honours

Unbeaten records, reputations and big names count for nothing in Sunderland welterweight Josh Kelly’s eyes.

By Liam Kennedy
Thursday, 18 April, 2019, 20:41
Josh Kelly and PRZEMYSLAW RUNOWSKI and Final Press Conference ahead of their WBA International Welterweight fight at the O2 Arena on Saturday Night. 18th April 2019 Picture By Mark Robinson.

Line the fighters up, and he’s certain he’ll knock them down.

Ryhope lad Kelly is back in action on Saturday at the O2 Arena, London, on the undercard of Dave Allen against Lucas Browne.

And Kelly is in no doubt unbeaten, but relatively untested, Przemyslaw Runowski will not stunt his meteoric rise towards world stardom.

“For me it doesn’t matter what record any fighter has - that’s just numbers,” he said.

“I only look at the boxers I am facing. Sometimes even fighters with losses on their record can deceive people.

“Whoever I have put in front of me by the people around me, I am confident I will beat them.

“Camp has been brilliant, it could not have gone better.

“I have trained hard, feel great and I am ready to put on a real performance on Saturday.”

Even if camp has gone well, it’s fair to say not everything has been plain sailing in the last six months for Kelly.

His reputation, wholly unfairly, took a public beating at the back end of last year when he was forced to pull out of a scheduled fight with David Avanesyan on the morning of the bout.

That brought claims from the Russian’s camp that Kelly had bottled the battle - a claim he refutes with every inch of his being.

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It was a sad end to what had been a life-changing year, in which he not only became a dad for the first time, but also picked up the World Boxing Association International Welterweight Title and a Commonwealth strap to go with it.

“Those comments did have an impact,” said Kelly.

“What they said made me mad.

“They said I was avoiding fighting him. They forget the fact that we were the team who hand-picked him to fight me. We knew we would win the fight, and it was a good test. I was absolutely dying, that’s why I pulled out the fight.

“That fight is still there. It is not going away.

“I can see it happening down the line. I want it to.”

Kelly’s promoter Eddie Hearn and trainer Adam Booth have both gone on the record to claim their man will be in and around the world welterweight scene before the end of 2020.

“I know that is where I will be,” said Kelly.

“All I have to do is keep listening to my team, my family and keep working hard.

“I love this game and know I will reach the top of this division, which is the most stacked with quality in the world.”