Josh Kelly makes bright start but David Avanesyan shows his class again, writes Roy Kelly from Wembley Arena
DAVID AVANESYAN produced another ruthless display to retain his European welterweight title in devastating fashion with a sixth-round stoppage of Josh Kelly.
The challenger touched down midway through the sixth round at the SSE Arena and when the Russian went straight back on the attack with a volley of clubbing blows to the head, Kelly’s coach Adam Booth wisely threw in the towel at 2-15.
It was Avanesyan’s fourth successive European title victory inside the distance and a stunning finish to end Kelly’s 11-fight undefeated run as a professional.
Having also wrecked Kerman Lejarraga’s unbeaten record with a ninth-round stoppage in Bilbao he returned to Spain for two first round defences – including beating Lejarraga again – before taking Kelly’s ‘0’ at Wembley. He now deserves a world title shot.
“I am so happy,” said the 32-year-old who had endured this fight with Kelly being postponed three times. “I’ve had to wait a long time for this.”
It looked like being a difficult night for the Newark-based former secondary WBA titlist when Kelly made a lightning start. The 26-year-old was sharp from the first bell, landing his jab nicely while moving smoothly.
He stung Avanesyan in the second with a left and he carried on his good form in the third, landing with both hands while making Avanesyan miss. By now, Kelly was bleeding heavily from a cut on the back of his head that came from an accidental head clash.
But Kelly also took the fourth, prompting the champ’s manager, Neil Marsh, to shout “get busy David” at the start of round five.
And the Carl Greaves-trained fighter followed orders by scoring with each glove, putting the blood-soaked Sunderland man under pressure for the first time.
Avanesyan carried on the assault in the sixth, with Kelly touching down and in obvious disarray. The end looked nigh and so it proved; 10 unanswered shots to the head persuaded Booth to throw the towel. It was the right call.
Triumphant coach Greaves, said: “No-one believed me, but I’ve been saying this is what David can do. I knew exactly how it was going to go.”
The towel also featured in another welterweight belter when the chief support contest ended at 2-18 of the eighth when the corner of brave Norwich fighter, Rylan Charlton, ended a compelling battle with Florian Marku, the London-based Albanian extending his unbeaten log to nine contests.
It proved a highly-entertaining show with another England v Mexico shock following last week’s first career defeat for Josh Warrington.
This time it was Liverpool super-lightweight, Robbie Davies Jnr, who suffered a majority points loss to Gabriel Valnzueala who won (96-95 (twice), 94-94.
Jordan Gill opened the event with a unanimous points success over Mexico City’s former world title challenger, Cesar Juarez, 98-92, 98-93, 96-94, while there was a quickfire debut for Johnny Fisher, the Romford heavyweight stopping West Brom’s Matt Gordon on 2-29 of the first.