Josh Kelly vs David Avanesyan: How grudge match is finally taking place after FOUR years and in fourth attempt

THE WINNER of David Avanesyan vs Josh Kelly on Saturday will have beaten a cruel two-year curse as well as a welterweight rival.

The clash for the Russian’s European title was first booked for December… 2018!

Only for sickness, alleged conspiracies and coronavirus to push it into 2021.

Kelly would have been the red-hot favourite for that original clash, the 2016 Olympian was 24-years-old with promoter Eddie Hearn purring about a bonafide world champion in the making.

The Sunderland lad’s skills, daring to box with his hands down by his waist underlined with magnificent reflexes, were lighting up social media channels all over British boxing.

But when the fight was cancelled just hours from the first bell, the first dark cloud over the prolonged feud came over.

Kelly, now 26, and trainer Adam Booth said their man had been struck down with a bad virus.

Avanesyan’s fearless manager Neil Marsh made a string of different accusations that have never been fully denied.

Marsh claimed Booth approached him on the eve of the fight and threatened to pull out unless the 12-round championship battle was reduced to a 10-rounder.

He wrote on Twitter at the time: "I've never in my life spoke badly of any fighter but trust me @JOSHPBK and @boxingbooth are complete bottle jobs.Their behaviour has been disgusting."


Despite being left well out-of-pocket for the wasted camp, Avanesyan took the disappointment in his stride and turned the tables.

The Carl Greaves-trained gunslinger flew out to Bilbao to face Spain’s dangerous newly-crowned European champion Kerman Lejarraga.

Lejarraga had beaten Englishman Bradley Skeete for the vacant title in April 2018 and then defended it by retiring the once brilliant Frankie Gavin in November.

But unknown Avanesyan, 32, rolled into his backyard in March 2019 and gunned down ‘The Revolver’ inside nine rounds, from behind on the cards.

He popped back six months later too and obliterated Lejarraga inside the opening round. 

By March 2020, father-of-two Kelly had lost his status as the favourite after a couple of underwhelming performances against relatively limited opposition.

All the showboating in the world could not help him look too good against Poland's Przemyslaw Runowski in a unanimous win.

And many had Kelly losing the July 2019 draw with Ray Robinson, on the New York undercard of Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz 1.

Eventually the second attempt was arranged for March 2020 and it led to a brilliant press conference.

Marsh unleashed a volley at Booth over his alleged actions around the first cancellation, calling him a "conman".

But we were never lucky enough to see those press conference fireworks translate into the ring.

Sadly that showdown was the first one cancelled in the UK’s first Covid-19 lockdown that kyboshed the sport until the summer.

The third bite of the ever-shrinking cherry came this January when the British Boxing Board of Control rightly moved in to halt the sport again after a worrying spike of infections.

It’s now fourth time lucky for both brave men who will be absolutely desperate for the win – and to see the back of each other once and for all.

Source: Read Full Article