Welterweight world champion David Avanesyan celebrated his English coach after stunning British prospect Josh Kelly at Wembley Arena, where his bloody opponent’s corner was forced to throw in the towel less than halfway.
European defending champions Avanesyan put constant pressure on the British fighter in the sixth round, leaving him with a nasty cut and unsteady feet after a knockdown that resulted in Kelly’s team deciding they had endured enough punishment from the Russian .
Both fighters had looked utterly confident in front of a scrap that had been postponed three times from its original 2018 date, only that the previously undefeated Kelly needed oxygen in the ring before Avanesyan gave an entertaining post-fight interview in which he met the victims revealed that he had won in London.
“A lot of people helped me when I was young and an amateur when there was no money,” said the 32-year-old, who had successfully defended his crown for the third time.
“I have been for two months [have rarely] seen my kids, friends, family. My mother supports me a lot. Number one is my kids.
“I know [Kelly] worked hard and has family and children. My business is for my family and me. “
Kelly had made intermittent appearances to the show boat during the first five laps after an eventful weigh-in at which the less experienced man repeatedly insisted that he would win the title.
Jaysus. Avanesyan adamant. Kelly looked great on the first two laps. Then his speed slowed and Avanesyan moved on.
– Derek Donohoe (@Derek_Donohoe) February 20, 2021
The challenger’s team was enraged by a stunt at a 2020 Valentine’s Day bout promotional event when Avanesyan manager Neil Marsh offered opposition trainer Adam Booth a rose during a bitter meeting between the two camps.
Laughing when he asked the Sky Sports cameras if his English was “good,” Avanesyan, who lives in Newark with veteran former pro Carl Greaves, reflected on the two defeats he suffered in 2017 and 2018 in the title challenges .
“Boxing is difficult,” he said and also thanked his Russian fans and his coaching team very much.
The towel is thrown in and David Avanesyan keeps his title! He didn’t stop berating Josh Kelly and finally got rewarded in the sixth! Who saw this coming? #KellyAvanesyan
– The battle bubble (@thefightbubble) February 20, 2021
David Avanesyan, what a fighter. There are levels for this game 👏🥊
– Anthony (@ anthonyevans97) February 20, 2021
Stunning of David Avanesyan as he knocked out Josh Kelly on lap six. Brutally the Brit broke down to keep his European welterweight title. Amazing victory.
– Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) February 20, 2021
“A lot of people think that if you lose, you’re done. This is boxing, it’s life. When you’re a champion, you get up.”
Greaves and Avanesyan clearly have a close understanding. “Everyone thought I was a crazy coach who didn’t know anything,” said the coach, who was playing pool with his fighter in the run-up to the fight.
“I’ve seen all these crazy kids that could keep him off for a while. I was so confident I told him to bet £ 500 [$700] on [a middle-rounds knockout]. I knew how to do it. “
Avenysyan way too hot for Josh Kelly. Wasn’t ready for this step. By far.
– Adam Darke (@adarkelimited) February 20, 2021
Wow, David Avanesyan took Josh Kelly apart
– Stuart Creek (@JimBowenRises) February 20, 2021
Promoter Eddie Hearn said Avanesyan could now target a world title and big fights against Shawn Porter, Terence Crawford or Errol Spence.
“What we saw tonight was a world class boxer versus a really good boxer, however [Kelly] was just overstaffed, overwhelmed, overwhelmed, “Hearn admitted.
“He tried to act every time Josh Kelly let go of his hands. He’s a big deserved winner and I think he should get a title shot.
HOLY COW. What a finish from Avanesyan. Josh Kelly got REALLY cocky at first. And as we say, if someone outwardly claims that his opponent’s shots won’t hurt, you can count on it. KO in a short time. #AvanesyanKelly
– 2 Beers Podcast (@ 2beerspodcast) February 20, 2021
Credit to Avanesyan. Relentless pressure. Shot Kelly down with body shots. It’s really impressive to set that pace for six laps. # AvanesyanKelly
– James Copley (@JamesCopley_) February 20, 2021
“These people don’t go down the ramp with anyone in an empty building [due to the pandemic].
“This sport is not normal when there are 80,000 people at Wembley. These people are not people – they are incredibly brave.
“I’ve never seen two camps that were so confident. They were so sure they would win. Josh Kelly had a wonderful camp, he was in the shape of his life.
That was brilliant from Avanesyan. Don’t panic, but it was surprising that he was so close so quickly and I think he took that to heart. If he hadn’t succeeded in losing rounds, he would have been disaffected
– John Evans (@ John_Evans79) February 20, 2021
AVANESYAN, THAT MAN TAKES SOULS TO THE BONE 🥊👀
– ray (@ray_raydoyle) February 20, 2021
“But this man was too tough. Sometimes you come across someone who is not denied, who is too strong, who has the will beyond others.”
The audience was equally impressed. “Avanesyan is a smart fighter,” one wrote on Twitter.
“He had Kelly shot his [energy] in the first five and finished it when he was fucked. Easy job. “
Hearn’s Matchroom group confirmed earlier in the day that another Russian champion who has delivered a demolition job in the UK, Alexander Povetkin, will have his long-awaited rematch with victim Dillian Whyte in Gibraltar on March 27th.
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