David Avanesyan proves he is the superior fighter over the younger Josh Kelly!
Twice cancelled over the course of twenty-six months, Josh “Pretty Boy” Kelly and David Avanesyan finally shared the ring in a highly anticipated “step-up” bout for Kelly. The two were supposed to meet in December 2018, then again in March 2020. An illness contracted by Avanesyan cancelled the former and the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the latter.
In between cancellations, Avanesyan got the boxing world’s attention when he traveled to Spain twice to knockout former undefeated top welterweight contender Kerman Lejarraga. The two wins almost nearly erased his knockout loss to former WBO #1 welterweight contender Egidijus Kavaliauskas nineteen months earlier. Coming into this fight, he is ranked in the top ten at welterweight by all four major sanctioning bodies.
Meanwhile, Kelly’s road was not as fruitful. He defeated undefeated and unknown Polish prospect Przemyslaw Runowski in April of 2019. However, he made a bad decision to jump back into the ring in a step-up fight against highly respected contender Ray Robinson just two months later. The rush to get back in the ring cost him as he fought to a draw in a fight many fans felt he lost.
Before this showing, Kelly was seen as one of the more exciting prospects in the sport. Afterwards, he lost a lot of attention with many thinking he is “over-hyped!” The last opinion may end up being one that sticks for a while!
YOUTH OVER AGE?!
Right off the bat, the speed and reflexes from the 26 year-old prospect was too much for Avanesyan. Kelly had his way pinpointing his opponent’s telegraphed shots and returning fire with an offensive arsenal the 32 year-old Russian was too slow to react and defend against.
In the second round, a check left hook knocked Avanesyan off balanced as he staggered from the middle of the ring to the ropes. Kelly immediately looked to go in for the kill. In the process, the Russian veteran returned fire causing the two to get into a tie up. When the two were separated, blood can be seen pouring from the back of the head of Kelly down his back. At first there was no indication of how he sustained a massive gash on the back of his head, but the blood was in abundance! Eventually via replay, we find out an unintentional elbow in the tie-up was the culprit.
Kelly seemed to be a bit bothered by the blood, which prompted Avanesyan to ramp up the pressure. As a result, the veteran started landing some lead right hands as well as a couple overhand rights in close-range exchanges. The gash may not have hurt Kelly due to his adrenaline but not knowing where the blood was coming from made him susceptible to getting caught with shots he easily avoided before receiving the gash.
Nevertheless for the most part of the early rounds, Kelly still utilized his reflexes and hand speed to tame his slower opponent and take the rounds.
CHANGING THE GAME-PLAN FOR NO REASON
Starting in the fifth round for no reason known to man, Kelly stopped utilizing the ring completely! He now started to move forward, electing to bully Avanesyan around the ring. As he is the bigger man, the problem here is he allowed his much slower foe opportunities to land shots at will! Maybe Kelly needed to catch a second wind but if that was the case, the bigger problem would be his lack of stamina.
Outside of a possible stamina issue, there was absolutely no need for Kelly to do this as he had the height, reach, foot-speed and hand-speed advantages. He could have literally stayed on the outside and relegated Avanesyan to a one-dimensional pressure fighter. In the process, he could have picked his opponent off with blistering check-hooks coming in and jab/straight combinations then dart out of harms way.
However, making the decision to fight on the inside was his undoing. Avanesyan took full advantage of this and unloaded his entire offensive arsenal on the inside. The British prospect took major damage in the fifth round and it was frustrating watching him continue to allow the fight to be made on the inside.
GIVING AWAY THE FIGHT BY KNOCKOUT
As the sixth round came, Kelly continued to attempt to be the aggressor. The accumulation of punishment from the previous round coupled with the gash on the back of his head turned him into a vulnerable fighter. Mid-way into the round, Avanesyan landed two hooks and an uppercut inside that buckled the legs of the prospect and put him down. He immediately rose back to his feet to beat the count but the inevitable was coming.
Kelly now tried to revert back to keeping his distance but the damage was done. He no longer had his legs under him as another hook sent the British prospect stumbling backwards again. This time as Avanesyan jumped in for the kill, he landed several more shots that sent his opponent to the canvas again.
Trainer Adam Booth would not wait for a count. He promptly threw in the towel to save his young fighter from taking anymore damage.
SHOCKING ANOTHER UNDEFEATED FIGHTER
Avanesyan shocks the boxing world for the third time in two years as he stops two opponents that were favorites to defeat him! Not only this, both were undefeated fighters expected to be possible world champions down the line and he defeated them both in enemy territory!
Prior to this fight, Avanesyan was ranked #9, #10, #6, and #7 by the WBA, WBO, IBF and WBC respectively at welterweight. Surely this win will now move him closer to getting his second shot at a world title since losing to then WBA welterweight champion Lamont Peterson in 2017.
By: EJ Williams