Before the combatants entered the ring on Saturday, much of the talk surrounding the David Avanesyan (27-3-1, 15 KOs) vs. Josh “Pretty Boy” Kelly (10-1-1, 6 KOs) fight involved Avanesyan’s power.
Could Kelly handle it? Would Kelly stay off the ropes as opposed to his recent few outings? Would it go the distance?
In short, it was Kelly, Kelly, Kelly–with little regard for his opponent–the European titleholder.
As soon as Round 1 started, Kelly made it known that he was on his A- game as he completely outboxed Avanesyan in the first two rounds behind slick defensive movement and solid counterpunching.
But as Round 3 began to unfold, Avanesyan showed that he wasn’t in the ring for instant gratification and instead was willing to pound out 12 hard rounds–regardless of the outcome.
There’s an old saying that you can’t hit what you can’t see, and early on that seemed to be the case as Kelly slipped a lot of the hard shots that Avenesyan was winging his way. But the hardnosed veteran was not deterred.
Avanesyan, game as ever, continued to come forward in Round 5, but ate numerous flush shots for his efforts. But, as Kelly continued to move around the ring, Avenesyan was able to close the distance and land thudding blows–even as he ate powerful shots in return.
The DAZN commentating team wasn’t in agreement with Kelly’s come-forward style in Round 5, as PBK tried to bully Avanesyan against the ropes.
They were right.
Avanesyan began to land more big shots on Kelly, as PBK lost the ability to separate himself from his heavy-handed opponent.
At 2:15 in Round 6, Kelly’s corner–lead by trainer Adam Booth–had seen enough and threw in the towel, giving Avanesyan the victory and four stoppage victories in a row.
While many fight fans on Twitter complained that Booth should not have stopped it, the trainer was ringside as a commentator for last weeks Josh Warrington pounding at the hands of Mauricio Lara.
Booth knows what a prolonged beating can mean for a young fighter and he did the right thing in stopping the bout.
As for Avenesyan, after dropping fights to the likes of Shane Mosley and Lamont Peterson, many had written him off and expected this to be a coming-out party for Kelly.
“Boxing is difficult,” said Avanesyan after the bout. “If you lost, many people think you’re finished… If you’re a champion you wake up and go.”
Indeed, Avanesyan showed that he’s got quite a bit of fight left in him and was very appreciative for the opportunity to battle against Kelly, after waiting so long.
“Today is good day and my night,” said Avanesyan. “Many people help me, you understand. This is not my win, this is for the many people that help me.”
For Kelly, who had been eyeing a huge clash versus Conor Benn, the world isn’t over, but he’ll have to regroup as he climbs the ranks against another worth opponent.