Sink or Swim: Josh Kelly

By Jon Uddin✏️

The expectations have been high for British Welterweight Josh Kelly, but after a lackluster 2019, what lies ahead for him when boxing returns in 2020?

Last June, British Welterweight 🇬🇧Josh “Pretty Boy” Kelly (10-0-1, 6KO) got a chance to shine on the undercard to the Heavyweight clash between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden. Kelly was taking a step up in competition against fellow southpaw Ray Robinson of Philadelphia in a 10 round bout.

Robinson proved to be a roadblock for Kelly in his journey of moving from prospect to contender, fighting to a draw on the judges scorecards. The result wasn’t met with any disputes, as even those who may have edged it to Kelly, saw enough swing rounds to validate a draw or even giving the nod to Robinson.

kelly robinson
A disappointing result for Josh Kelly as he is forced to settle for a draw against Ray Robinson

Returning to the ring in December, Kelly easily notched the tenth win of his career, but it came in a overall dull 10 round unanimous decision over Nicaragua’s Wiston Campos. Kelly’s lackluster performance and the crowds restlessness did not go unnoticed by Matchroom Boxing head man Eddie Hearn, who announced after the fight that a matchup with veteran 🇷🇺David Avanesyan (26-3-1, 14KO) would be next, stating that it was a “sink or swim” fight for Kelly. “Let’s see it, and let’s see what he’s made of, and I think you’ll get the best out of him.” Hearn stated.

With the coronavirus halting the boxing world, the fight with Avanesyan will have to be rescheduled, but in the past couple of weeks a matchup between Kelly and fellow British Welterweight 🇬🇧Lewis Ritson (20-1-0, 12KO) is currently being looked at according to Hearn.

Whoever is next, it’s important that Kelly position himself to make a move in the current Welterweight landscape that is heating up with the highly touted 🇺🇸Jaron “Boots” Ennis (25-0-0, 23KO) ready for title contention and top Super-Lightweights 🇺🇸Regis Prograis (24-1-0, 20KO) and 🇺🇸Maurice Hooker (27-1-3, 18KO) making the move up. It would be nice to see Kelly work behind a jab, and keep his punch output and activity rate up instead of sacrificing rounds to drop his hands and put on a showcase of superior athleticism around the ring. It may seem clever in Kelly’s mind when doing it, but it becomes boring and has given him the aura as one writer has stated of “all sizzle, no steak”.

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