Avanesyan-Kelly Grudge Match Set For March

One of boxing’s biggest rivalries is set to tear the roof off of the O2 Arena. David Avanesyan will put his EBU European Welterweight Title on the line against rising star Josh Kelly. The Matchroom Boxing-produced event has a scheduled date of March 28.

“This is just a brilliant fight – absolute sink or swim time,” said Matchroom Boxing promotor Eddie Hearn. “Avanesyan is a world class Welterweight who sits in the top 10 with every governing body but for every great Olympic prospect comes judgement day and this is it for Josh Kelly. The fight that could turn him into a real star and a legitimate World Title contender. It’s the ultimate stage, the ultimate test – don’t miss it.”

Both fighters were set to fight one another back in 2018, but Kelly (10-0-1) had to back out due to an illness. The 25-year-old knocked out Walter Fabian Castillo in one round the month before. Since then, Kelly has gone 2-0-1, his last bout a unanimous decision victory over Wiston Campos back in December.

β€œIt’s a good opportunity to silence the doubters,” said Kelly. “He (Avanesyan) is the favorite now. He has proved how good he is in the last three fights. It’s going to be a good fight, but one I’m quietly confident about. I do feel excited. I feel like this is a turning point in my career. If I win, when I win, then I take it to the next level. A lot in the future is lying on this fight.”

Avanesyan (26-3-1) lost to Egidijus Kavaliauskas via TKO back in February 2018. Since the initial cancelled bout, the 31-year-old has won three rights in a row via TKO. He beat Kerman Lejarraga for the European Welterweight Title via a ninth-round TKO back in March. Avanesyan only needed one round to knock out Jose Del Rio back in December for his second successful defense of the belt.

The rivalry between the two kicked into gear after Kelly had to be removed from the initial bout, with Avanesyan’s manager calling out Kelly. Now, Avanesyan is hoping to finish Kelly and move on to become a contender for major championships.

“I have unfinished business with Josh Kelly,” said Avanesyan. “I’m delighted the fight has finally been made and I will have a chance to inflict a first defeat on his professional career… After I deal with Kelly I want Eddie to deliver me a World Title shot so I can become a two-time World Champion and secure my family’s future.”

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